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Family

My family of 5 traveled the U.S. for nearly a year, and it cost us less than staying home

It's amazing what a little creativity and willingness to step outside the box can do.

family of five on a boat
Photo courtesy of Annie Reneau

We made countless memories during our slow travel year.

Whenever people share money-saving life hacks like living on a cruise ship or exploring the country via the #vanlife, I see comments like, "That might work for a single person or a couple, but what if you have kids?"

When our kids were 12, 8 and 4, we packed up all of our earthly belongings and spent a year living around the U.S. And no, we didn't live in a van or RV. (Nothing wrong with that life, it just wasn't for us.) We traveled from coast to coast, seeing and experiencing the vast array of gorgeous landscapes and fascinating sites America has to offer, and the best part is we did it for less than what we would have spent staying home.

Was it easy to plan and execute? Not exactly. But was it worth it? Absolutely, hands down, 100%.

Here's how we did it and what we learned.



How the 'nomadic life' idea came about

We were renting a beautiful house in the Chicago suburbs when the owner decided she wanted to sell it. We couldn't afford to buy it, so we had no choice but to move. My husband and I both worked from home and homeschooled our kids (pre-pandemic—that scenario is much more common now), so we were really free to live anywhere.

A friend of mine had been telling me about an extremely affordable house they'd rented in the Outer Banks in the fall while waiting for their permanent home to get finished. I had no idea tourist hot spots were so cheap off-peak, but once I started looking into it, I was gobsmacked.

Seriously, in major tourist areas like Cape Cod and Myrtle Beach, houses rent for upwards of 90% less than their peak summer prices from fall through spring. Owners don't want their homes to sit empty and are willing to rent them for dirt cheap.

As I started researching more, I found that the nightly cost of most vacation rentals is a lot cheaper when you rent for an entire month (though not as cheap as those East Coast off-season rentals). And since vacation rentals generally include utilities, they are even cheaper when comparing them to regular housing costs.

So I posed the question: What if we moved out of our house and just…didn't move into another house? What if, instead of paying rent or a mortgage, we put our stuff into storage, packed what we wanted to have with us in our car and rented vacation rentals a month or so at a time? We could work and school from anywhere. But could we really make that work?

I started sketching out scenarios and crunching numbers.

kids in car

Our kids got used to monthly long car rides. They were not always this happy about it.

Photo by Annie Reneau

How we worked it out financially

We were paying $1,800/month for rent for our house in the burbs, plus $200 to $300 dollars in utilities. That was the top of what we could afford, so we needed to keep monthly housing costs below that.

A storage unit for all of our furniture and belongings was just under $200/month. We figured that was a little less than what we paid monthly in utilities, so we'd just consider the storage unit cost as our utilities equivalent. That meant we needed to keep our vacation rental rent at $1,800/mo or below to keep our same cost of living.

What about gasoline costs, though? Driving around the country means a lot of gas money. And what about hotels and food?

Since we wouldn't be living in one spot, we'd put a pause on the kids' lessons and activities we normally would pay for (violin lessons, gymnastics, etc.). I figured what we saved in kids' activities would certainly cover gas costs, especially if we were only making a long drive around once a month. (We also figured that what the kids learned from a year of travel would be just as valuable as whatever they'd be missing in regular activities, so weren't worried about the disruption.)

girl with lorikeet, dolphin jumping

Our future zoologist got plenty of animal encounters both in zoos and in the wild during our travels.

Photos by Annie Reneau

For overnight stops along the way, we'd try to plan routes that had people we knew and could stay a night with. Otherwise, we'd use Priceline for hotels. (If I were to do it again, I would use the points/miles travel hacking hobby I started last year for free hotel stays, but Priceline got us some good deals.)

We'd be living in fully-equipped homes, so we'd just cook like we normally do. We had a museum pass as homeschoolers that got us into all kinds of places around the country for free, and we're really good at finding free or cheap things to do anyway. So as long as we kept the monthly rent at or below $1,800 on average for the year, we'd basically come out even money-wise.

map with route highlighted

We kept an old-school road atlas in the car and highlighted our route as we drove.

Photo by Annie Reneau

How we planned where to go and what each place cost

We had a few "anchors" to guide our route as we planned. We had to leave when our lease was up at the end of April. We wanted to visit friends and family in California, we had a week-long family camp in Washington State in July, my husband had to be back in Chicago in August for a work thing, and we wanted to spend a chunk of the off-season on the East Coast. We worked backward from there.

We looked at rentals through Airbnb and VRBO and quickly found that everywhere is expensive in the summer. However, May is off-peak in Southern California (despite the gorgeous weather), and June is off-peak on the Oregon Coast (because of late school schedules and hit-or-miss weather), so we decided to start in California and make our way up the coast.

For May, we got a 2-bedroom condo right across the street from a beach in Dana Point, California, for $2,400.

For June, we rented a 3-bedroom house a block from the beach in Pacific Beach, Oregon, for $1,800.

mount rainier

View of Mt. Rainier from Crystal Mountain

Photo by Annie Reneau

By far, the most expensive place we stayed the whole trip was a not-terribly-impressive 2-bedroom condo in Seattle for three weeks in July (after our family camp) for $2,700. (Pretty much everywhere in the nation is ridiculously pricey in July. No getting around it.) So we were over our monthly budget to start off with, but that was okay because we knew we'd make it up the rest of the year.

In August, we stayed with my husband's parents in Chicago, so we had one essentially rent-free month.

September took us to a large 4-bedroom home in a quaint little Lake Michigan beach town—South Haven, Michigan—which had the softest sand I've ever felt. Our rent there was $1,300.

cape cod house in the snow

Our son playing in the snow outside our temporary Cape Cod home.

Photo by Annie Reneau

October through January we stayed in Barnstable, Massachusetts—a beautiful Cape Cod town—in what was our best deal of the whole trip—a stunningly idyllic 2,000 sq ft, 4-bedroom, 2-bath home for $1,500 a month. (Again, utilities included.) This house rented for $3,500 a week during the summer. Seriously, the off-season on the East Coast is bonkers.

February took us to Orlando, Florida, where we stayed in a 3-bedroom condo minutes from the big theme parks for $1,200 for the month.

We used some actual vacation time and money we'd stashed away selling off items before putting our stuff into storage and lived it up at Disney World and Universal Orlando during this month. Because our housing was covered and we had our own car and we could bring our own food, all we had to pay for were the park tickets. And because we weren't on a time crunch we could take advantage of far more days at the parks. (Park tickets get cheaper each day you add on, and become ridiculously cheap per person per day once you get past four or five days.) February is a perfect time to go to the parks if you wants pleasant temps and no crowds.

kids smiling

Kids watching Disney World fireworks. Disney magic is real.

Photo by Annie Reneau

By March we were tired. We had decided before Florida to take a break from traveling and spend time my husband's sister's family who were visiting Chicago from overseas in March. That turned out to be a wise decision, as a family emergency arose the week we got back that necessitated us staying in Chicago for a few months. So we officially ended our nomadic travels two months shy of a year.

So how did we fare financially? Adding up all the rent we paid and dividing it by 10 months came to $1,540/month, well under budget. Even if we don't count the month we stayed at my husband's parents for free, we still came in under budget at just over $1,700/month.

car packed for a trip

Our Honda Pilot packed with everything we took with us around the country.

Photo by Annie Reneau

What kinda sucked about our nomadic life

I'd say 95% of our nomadic experience was positive, and it actually went far more smoothly than I thought it might. But there were some downsides, of course.

For one, having to pack and unpack the car every month got a bit old. We each had our own bin of clothing and personal belongings, and we had a school bin and a kitchen bin. It worked well, but it was still a lot to manage.

The kids missed having their friends around, of course, and so did we. We managed to meet people almost everywhere we went, but it's not the same as being with your own community of people. We missed having a home and a sense of steadiness. It was fabulous for a while, but not something we wanted to experience forever.

And as the person who did all the research and planning for our Big, Slow Trip Around the Country, there were times I wanted to pull my hair out trying to get it all timed out just right. I'm still not quite sure how I did it, to be honest, but it all worked out beautifully. I do know it took a lot of time and effort.

Totally worth it, though.

girl on beach at sunset

Sunset beachcombing at low tide on Cape Cod

Photo by Annie Reneau

What was awesome about the nomadic life

First of all, the forced paring down of our belongings before putting stuff in storage was wonderful. We all have too much stuff, and having to decide what was worth paying to store was a useful exercise in and of itself.

As far as nomad life itself goes, the affordability of living/traveling in this way blew my mind. I would never have guessed we could slow travel for the same or less than the cost of staying home.

The kids had experiences we never would have been able to give them if we had tried to go all of these places just on vacations. We not only saw dozens of sunsets at the beach, but we saw firsthand the way the tides change throughout the month. We got to hike through incredible scenery at our own leisure, not trying to cram in as much as we could into a short vacation. We lived in small towns and big cities, enjoyed palm trees and pine trees and learned about all manner of wildlife.

And the learning! We studied colonial America and visited all the historical sites of the Revolutionary War during our stay in Massachusetts—a fascinating treat for my husband and I who were both born and raised on the West Coast. We stood on the North Bridge where "the shot heard round the world" was fired, which is the same bridge Henry David Thoreau and Louisa May Alcott would take boat rides under, which is within eyeshot of Ralph Waldo Emerson's family home, which Nathaniel Hawthorne also live in for a while. History hits differently when you can see where it actually happened.

two kids on the oregon coast

Oregon Coast beaches are like glass.

Photo by Annie Reneau

We formed lifelong memories together as a family and met interesting people everywhere we went. While watching dolphins play in the surf at Dana Point, I connected with a mother who had lost her son in a surfing accident. On Cape Cod, I met a fellow homeschool mom whose husband worked as the caretaker for a very famous family's private island, and we got to go spend a day there. We also got to stay the night with friends around the country while we made our way from one place to another, and friends and family came to visit us in almost every place we stayed as well, so we didn't get too lonely.

It was also a surprisingly simple life, despite the complexities of planning it. We had what we could fit in our car and that was it. We didn't have to worry about yard work or home maintenance or decorating or anything like that. We got to live in homes that had everything ready for us, so other than just basic laundry and cleaning up after ourselves, there wasn't anything else to think about. We could just enjoy where we were while we were there.

But perhaps most importantly, we proved to ourselves and our kids that it's okay to step outside of the norm, that life doesn't have to look a certain way, and that with a little creativity, you can live a unique and extraordinary life if you want to, even if it's just for a while.

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

A map of the United States post land-ice melt.




Land ice: We got a lot of it.

Considering the two largest ice sheets on earth — the one on Antarctica and the one on Greenland — extend more than 6 million square miles combined ... yeah, we're talkin' a lot of ice.

But what if it was all just ... gone? Not like gone gone, but melted?


If all of earth's land ice melted, it would be nothing short of disastrous.

And that's putting it lightly.

This video by Business Insider Science (seen below) depicts exactly what our coastlines would look like if all the land ice melted. And spoiler alert: It isn't great.

Lots of European cities like, Brussels and Venice, would be basically underwater.

In Africa and the Middle East? Dakar, Accra, Jeddah — gone.

Millions of people in Asia, in cities like Mumbai, Beijing, and Tokyo, would be uprooted and have to move inland.

South America would say goodbye to cities like Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires.

And in the U.S., we'd watch places like Houston, San Francisco, and New York City — not to mention the entire state of Florida — slowly disappear into the sea.

All GIFs via Business Insider Science/YouTube.

Business Insider based these visuals off National Geographic's estimation that sea levels will rise 216 feet (!) if all of earth's land ice melted into our oceans.

There's even a tool where you can take a detailed look at how your community could be affected by rising seas, for better or worse.

Although ... looking at these maps, it's hard to imagine "for better" is a likely outcome for many of us.

Much of America's most populated regions would be severely affected by rising sea levels, as you'll notice exploring the map, created by Alex Tingle using data provided by NASA.

Take, for instance, the West Coast. (Goodbye, San Fran!)

Or the East Coast. (See ya, Philly!)

And the Gulf Coast. (RIP, Bourbon Street!)

I bring up the topic not just for funsies, of course, but because the maps above are real possibilities.

How? Climate change.

As we continue to burn fossil fuels for energy and emit carbon into our atmosphere, the planet gets warmer and warmer. And that, ladies and gentlemen, means melted ice.

A study published this past September by researchers in the U.S., U.K., and Germany found that if we don't change our ways, there's definitely enough fossil fuel resources available for us to completely melt the Antarctic ice sheet.

Basically, the self-inflicted disaster you see above is certainly within the realm of possibility.

"This would not happen overnight, but the mind-boggling point is that our actions today are changing the face of planet Earth as we know it and will continue to do so for tens of thousands of years to come," said lead author of the study Ricarda Winkelmann, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

If we want to stop this from happening," she says, "we need to keep coal, gas, and oil in the ground."

The good news? Most of our coastlines are still intact! And they can stay that way, too — if we act now.

World leaders are finallystarting to treat climate change like the global crisis that it is — and you can help get the point across to them, too.

Check out Business Insider's video below:

This article originally appeared on 12.08.15

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Guy's "buy again" option for Walmart exposes high inflation prices

People have been complaining about the increase in basic necessities for a while now. It seems that things are simply costing astronomically more now than they were jus a few short years ago Some people have been wondering if they're nostalgically imagining things costing less or if there was a time where you didn't need to take out a personal loan to buy groceries.

One TikTok creator that goes by the name Sewerlidd found himself in need of more groceries so he opened up his Walmart account to order some food. While in the account he saw the "reorder all" option (which is handy in a pinch) and decided to check out how much his groceries were a couple of years ago. Turns out, his groceries were a pretty reasonable price for 45 items.

It was when he clicked the "reorder all" button that the price of those exact same items seems to have sent him into a cold sweat.


"I feel like I'm going to be sick. I just looked through my Walmart history and I found my order from two years ago for the whole month worth of groceries. 45 items costs $126," the man says before revealing the price jump. "Now, this order of 45 items for one month would've cost $414. That is four times more."

The price difference is outrageous and commenters agree with the man, including a few of the sentence enhancers he uses to express his frustration.

@sewerlidd

#greenscreen #groceries #economy #inflation


"And this is why I went from buying healthy food back to only buying sandwich materials," someone writes.

"I used to spend $180 for 2 weeks for my family of four and the dog. I am now spending upwards of $430 and trying to figure out what else I can cut. sorry kids you don't get barbecue sauce," a mom shares.

"I knew it was going to be bad. I didn’t know it was gonna be this bad," another says.

"Yep. Have had to adjust what I wanted to buy at the grocery store based on how expensive everything is. Definitely stretching meals with rice and beans already," someone else writes.

Other commenters don't believe that his groceries increased that much, believing he's exaggerating for shock value. Pricing does vary depending on what state you live in and what items you order, so it may be difficult to recreate the same exact situation. Companies like Walmart have also recently lowered the prices of several items which may be causing the discrepancy for others as well. Either way, people are feeling the effects of inflation while grocery shopping so here's to hoping the price cuts stick.

Paper bags with groceries including fruits and vegetables and bread

apples and bananas in brown cardboard boxPhoto by Maria Lin Kim on Unsplash

Family

Mom calls out teacher who gave her son a 'zero' grade for not providing class with supplies

Her viral video sparked a debate as to whether or not providing school supplies should be mandatory for parents.

@shanittanicole/TikTok

A zero grade for not providing school supplies?

The debate as to whether or not parents should supply classroom supplies is not new. But as prices continue to rise, parents are growing more baffled as to how they can be expected by teachers to provide all the various glue sticks, colored pencils, rulers and other various items the incoming students might need.

What’s even more perplexing, however, is penalizing the children of parents who won’t (or can’t) provide them.

This was the case for Shanitta Nicole, who discovered her son received a zero grade in his new school for not bringing school supplies for the entire classroom.

Nicole was especially surprised by this reaction since she had already gone through the effort of making sure her son had every supply he needed from the school’s list, which was slightly different than the one they previously had.

And yet, the 7th grade teacher informed her son that he was still expected to provide for the classroom, not just himself. And, thus, a zero grade, for failing the assignment, so to speak.


Even though Nicole thought the rule was “weird,” she went out and bought the bulk items, which included tissues, Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, pencils, Expo markers, and red pens.

And yet, the next week—her son still has a zero. Concerned, Nicole emailed her son’s teacher.

“I’m like, ‘hey…my student has a 83 in the class and everything else in the class is 100s and 98s and he still has a zero for something called ‘classroom supplies.’” she said in a video.

“‘We bought the supplies anyways, but I don't feel like it's the parents' responsibility to supply your classroom. And I definitely don't think it's appropriate to assign a grade to students based off of whether or not they've supplied your class with supplies. That doesn't make any sense.’”

@shanittanicole Am I doing too much? #fyp #school ♬ original sound - Shanitta Nicolee 💖

And while Nicole’s email did get the teacher to reconcile the grade, there was no mention to her other concern regarding the responsibility for parents to provide the entire class with supplies.

“So, I emailed the principal because I just, I might be extra, but I just want to see what's going on. Why do I have to buy supplies for the classroom?” the frustrated mom concluded.

Nicole’s video quickly went viral on TikTok, and several weighed in to agree that the teacher’s actions were misguided.

“That is so unfair!! Especially for the kids whose parents CANT afford groceries let alone classroom supplies,” one user wrote.

Another added, “You are not wrong. It is 100% ok for [the teacher] to ask for supplies, but mandate it for a grade? Absolutely not.”

And this point is truly what Nicole took umbrage with, as she noted several times in the comments. It has less to do with being asked to help and more to do with her son’s grade depending on it.

In a follow-up video, Nicole shared that the school principal did end up reaching out, notifying her that while, yes, teachers are allowed to ask for donations, it should never be mandated.

@shanittanicole Replying to @yafavv._.dancer😍😘💞😍😍💞 Graded Supplies Update #fyp #school ♬ original sound - Shanitta Nicolee 💖

“What the teacher was trying to accomplish, but it definitely wasn't appropriate,” the principal told Nicole.

While the teacher might have not handled this situation in the best way, it goes without saying that this is a larger systemic issue—one that isn’t exactly fair to parents, teachers and students alike.

Most public school teachers spend a significant amount of their own money on classroom supplies, to an average of $673 per year, according to a recent survey of more than 1,100 educators by the Association of American Educators (AAE). That number only goes up for teachers in high poverty schools.

At the same time, according to a 2022 survey with Savings.com, the typical parent also spends nearly $600 on school supplies. Plus things like clothes, backpacks, haircuts etc.

In the grand scheme of things, there’s no use placing full responsibility or blame onto teachers or parents. Because either way, students get caught in the crossfire. This is clearly a universal burden that needs attention.


This article originally appeared on 10.5.23

May all flights be like this.

Five-year-old Xavier Rivas thought he would be missing the milestone of his one and only kindergarten graduation. But thanks to the kindness of strangers, he got an extra special memory sure to last him a lifetime.

Aboard a Frontier Airlines flight from Florida to Puerto Rico, an attendant announced over the loudspeaker that the young boy would be given his own mid-flight graduation ceremony, and asked the other passengers to help cheer him on.


In a clip posted to TikTok, we see not only Xavier beam in his cap and gown as he walks down the aisle while "Pomp and Circumstance" plays, but also the fellow passengers as they applaud and give him high fives.

Watch:

@alldayloveme Kindergarten graduation on Frontier Airlines! Lets all congratulate him! #kindergarten #graduation #frontierairlines #fypage #flightattendant ♬ original sound - Laci Alvarez

Other viewers noted how folks instantly lit up at the chance to make one kid’s day.

“It’s so cute when she said ‘kindergarten graduation everyone perked up. Like yes, let's hype this little kid up lol.”

“I love how everyone went from 😠 to 🤩with the announcement.”

“I love how instantly happy everyone was. If only things were as simple today as they were when we were in kindergarten.”

“I cried so fast. This is what being human is all about.”

“It is simple human to human kindness that keeps us sane.”

With all the stories of bad plane behavior out there, this one feels extra refreshing for the soul. It’s just a little reminder that, at least in some ways, humans are hardwired to care for one another…even while thousands of feets in the air.

Health

Doctor explains why he checks a dead patient's Facebook before notifying their parents

Louis M. Profeta MD explains why he looks at the social media accounts of dead patients before talking their parents.

Photo from Tedx Talk on YouTube.

He checks on your Facebook page.

Losing a loved one is easily the worst moment you'll face in your life. But it can also affect the doctors who have to break it to a patient's friends and family. Louis M. Profeta MD, an Emergency Physician at St. Vincent Emergency Physicians in Indianapolis, Indiana, recently took to LinkedIn to share the reason he looks at a patient's Facebook page before telling their parents they've passed.

The post, titled "I'll Look at Your Facebook Profile Before I Tell Your Mother You're Dead," has attracted thousands of likes and comments.


"It kind of keeps me human," Profeta starts. "You see, I'm about to change their lives — your mom and dad, that is. In about five minutes, they will never be the same, they will never be happy again."

"Right now, to be honest, you're just a nameless dead body that feels like a wet bag of newspapers that we have been pounding on, sticking IV lines and tubes and needles in, trying desperately to save you. There's no motion, no life, nothing to tell me you once had dreams or aspirations. I owe it to them to learn just a bit about you before I go in."

"Because right now... all I am is mad at you, for what you did to yourself and what you are about to do to them. I know nothing about you. I owe it to your mom to peek inside of your once-living world.”

Dr. Louis Profeta, health, death, doctors

Dr. Profeta talks his experience with the death of a patient.

Photo from Tedx Talk on YouTube.

Profeta explains that the death of a patient makes him angry:

"Maybe you were texting instead of watching the road, or you were drunk when you should have Ubered. Perhaps you snorted heroin or Xanax for the first time or a line of coke, tried meth or popped a Vicodin at the campus party and did a couple shots.”

"Maybe you just rode your bike without a helmet or didn't heed your parents' warning when they asked you not to hang out with that 'friend,' or to be more cautious when coming to a four-way stop. Maybe you just gave up."

"Maybe it was just your time, but chances are... it wasn't."

personalization, trauma, mental health, social media

The facebook app.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Profeta goes on to explain why he checks a patient's Facebook page:

"So I pick up your faded picture of your driver's license and click on my iPhone, flip to Facebook and search your name. Chances are we'll have one mutual friend somewhere. I know a lot of people.”

"I see you wearing the same necklace and earrings that now sit in a specimen cup on the counter, the same ball cap or jacket that has been split open with trauma scissors and pulled under the backboard, the lining stained with blood. Looks like you were wearing it to the U2 concert. I heard it was great."

"I see your smile, how it should be, the color of eyes when they are filled with life, your time on the beach, blowing out candles, Christmas at Grandma's; oh you have a Maltese, too. I see that. I see you standing with your mom and dad in front of the sign to your college. Good, I'll know exactly who they are when I walk into the room. It makes it that much easier for me, one less question I need to ask.”

"You're kind of lucky that you don't have to see it. Dad screaming your name over and over, mom pulling her hair out, curled up on the floor with her hand over her head as if she's trying to protect herself from unseen blows.”

"I check your Facebook page before I tell them you're dead because it reminds me that I am talking about a person, someone they love — it quiets the voice in my head that is screaming at you right now shouting: 'You mother f--ker, how could you do this to them, to people you are supposed to love!'"

— Updated June 5, 2019.

This article originally appeared on June 5, 2019