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They spent billions of hours a year caring for loved ones. She thought they could use a vacation.

She could do anything she wanted with a half a million dollars in prize money. This is what she chose.

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Ad Council + AARP

Imagine you won half a million dollars for being a genius.

Heather did.


Image by Macarthur Foundation.

Heather McHugh is a poet from Seattle. She is also a genius.

The MacArthur Foundation gave her over $600,000 in unrestricted grant money for her poetry, which the foundation calls "intellectually challenging, yet emotionally engaging verse that balances gravity with humor."

Winners of this "genius grant" can do whatever they want with the cash.

I give you ... awesomeness.

No regulations on the cash. No nothin'. That's what makes the MacArthur genius grant so exceptional.

Some winners have started businesses, funded films, taken off on a passion project the grant allowed them to focus on, or just continued their vocations with a really nice nest egg. Heather chose something a little different.

Heather gave away all her $600k genius grant money to strangers.

But not just any strangers.

You see, Heather was kinda freaked out by the prospect of spending over $600,000 on herself alone. So she looked around her life for people who might also be in need of funding.

She didn't need to look far.

Reflecting on the massive efforts of her godson and his wife as they raised a baby with severe disabilities, she decided what to do with her grant money.

As told to KPLU. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

She started the nonprofit Caregifted, which gives vacations to people who have spent a decade or more taking care of a family member full time.

Speaking of her personal experience in watching her godson and his wife care for their daughter, who were told she would never be able to walk, talk, or feed herself, she said, “It was obvious to me when that baby was born that in 10 years, they were going to need a break."

To put this in perspective, consider this example: In 2014, friend and family caregivers of folks with Alzheimer's and other dementias spent an estimated 17.9 billion hours on unpaid care. There's no paid vacation (or even just vacation) for this more-common-than-you-think job.

In steps Caregifted. They have already given vacations to 30 caregivers.

Says one recipient, “It was the first time in many, many years that I only had to worry about myself."

So selfless. I'm sharing this so that more people recognize the work of our caregivers. You matter. <3

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

Health

Neuroscience learns what Buddhism has known for ages: There is no constant self

Buddhist Monks have known for thousands of years what science is just now learning: the mind can be changed by training it.

Ven. Thich Thong Hai prays by a statue of Buddha in the garden at the Ventura Buddhist Center.

Proving that science and religion can, in fact, overlap, University of British Columbia researcher Evan Thompson has confirmed the Buddhist teaching of the not-self, or "anatta," is more than just a theory.

"Buddhists argue that nothing is constant, everything changes through time, you have a constantly changing stream of consciousness," he tells Quartz. "And from a neuroscience perspective, the brain and body is constantly in flux. There's nothing that corresponds to the sense that there's an unchanging self."


This reality that nothing stays the same should be liberating, because if people believe it, they'll no longer define themselves by their thoughts or be limited by a fixed idea of who they are. Their possibilities will be endless.

Buddhist Monks have known for thousands of years what science is just now learning: the mind can be changed by training it. Neuroplasticity, as it's called, endows people with the ability to grow and evolve, triumphing over bad habits and becoming more like the individuals they want to be.

Buddha, religion, self awareness, evolution, enlightenment

Buddha GIF

Giphy Discover & share this Big GIF with everyone you know. GIPHY is how you search, share, discover, and create GIFs.

Still, exactly how consciousness relates to the brain eludes both Buddhism and neuroscience. Buddhists suppose there's an iteration of consciousness that doesn't require a physical body; neuroscientists disagree.

"In neuroscience, you'll often come across people who say the self is an illusion created by the brain," Thompson says. "My view is that the brain and the body work together in the context of our physical environment to create a sense of self. And it's misguided to say that just because it's a construction, it's an illusion."


This article originally appeared on 09.23.17

Images provided by P&G

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

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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.

Family

Millennial man wonders if he's 'dumb' for wanting kids in his late 30s

"I don't want to be a geriatric dad, but I don't feel like I'm old?"

A man is wondering if it's too late for him to have children at 38 years old.

The medical community coined the term “geriatric pregnancy” to differentiate anyone who becomes pregnant after the age of 35, mostly as a safety measure. But while there are some age-related risks that come from having a baby later in life, many argue that the label is misleading and outdated…not to mention offensive.

Still, it’s enough for some to wonder if they’re somehow too late when it comes to starting a family.

That was certainly the case for a man who sought advice on the “Millennial” subreddit asking if he and his wife were “dumb” for changing their minds about having kids in their late 30s.

“My wife (34 f) and I (37 m) have suddenly found ourselves having the kid conversation a lot after 12 years together as ‘childfree,’” he wrote, saying that he could see them both “trying” in about a year to 18 months. By then he’ll be 38.

He went on to explain that a lot his childhood was spent moving around and feeling neglected as a result of his parents getting divorced, all of which made him not feel “stable” enough to have kids of his own.

But now, he and his wife are debt free and have stable income, setting a solid foundation to start a new chapter. But still, they wonder if it’s too late.

Am I dumb for having kids at age 38?
byu/stillyoinkgasp inMillennials

“Now I'm staring down the reality that the youngest I'll be if we have kids is 38. I don't want to be a geriatric dad, but I don't feel like I'm old? I already have back and neck issues, though. I have friends with a 16-year-old FFS! Do I want to be 56 with an 18-year-old? Anyone have kids late that maybe can shed some perspective?”

People were quick to offer insight.

“My dad was 38 when I was born, I’m 40. He’s a healthy, active 78 and is a fully present granddad. We had our first at 30 and were oddly the youngest parents in our friend group and among our kids peers at school,” one person wrote.

Another added, “My dad was 38 when I was born, and 56 when I was 18. And guess what? We’re now 71 and 33 and still go biking, sailing, and bar hopping. All is possible! :)”

A third shared:

“I'm 36 with a 3 yr old. Met a woman at the playground yesterday who is 42 with a 4 yr old. I personally am glad that it panned out this way for me, bc my spouse and I are in a much better place relationship wise, financially, and professionally to take optimum care for our kiddo. If it had happened sooner, we would have struggled and I probably wouldn't be where I am today career wise.

There is absolutely pros and cons to both, but 38 is not too old. Hell my parents had my youngest brother when they were both 48 and he's a great kid. Just because your path deviates from the norm doesn't mean it's wrong or you missed your chance.”

Another suspected that the man’s fears had “nothing to do with age” and were really just the regular parenting anxiety. The OP replied, “Fair…I thought maybe it was financial, but when we ‘solved’ that it persists…”

And that’s when another person broke down how parenting is a logic-defying “leap of faith” at any age, so anxiety is just part of the process.

parenting, parenting at 30, geriatric pregnancy

"No one can really prepare you for what it’s like to be a parent."

Photo credit: Canva

“Part of the problem is that no one can really prepare you for what it’s like to be a parent. You just can’t fully understand what it’s like until you have a kid…The best descriptions of parenthood that I got before having a kid was 1) that it’s both the best and worst thing that will ever happen to you and 2) that it’s like dying and being reborn as a completely new person. Parenthood isn’t like your old life plus a kid. It is a totally different life,” they wrote.

“We had kids late and as far as that goes it’s been fine so far. Biggest issues for us have been that dealing with both the sleep deprivation during the baby years and the constant illness in the daycare and school age years would probably have been easier in our 20s and 30s but I don’t think those are really easy for parents of any age.

There’s no real wrong or right answer in this decision. Whatever you choose it will be the best choice for you.”

Lastly, someone suggested that if they were wanting to have kids, to act now, as “there’s no sense in kicking the can any further.” Apparently, that’s what the OP’s wife keeps telling him.

Bottom line: having a baby earlier in adulthood is by no means an inherently superior choice to waiting until later. And no matter what age it happens, you’ll never feel 100% ready for such a huge transition. Make the choice that works best for you. Forget the rest.

@tabathalynnk/TikTok, Photo credit: Canva

They've still got the moves

Ready to get transported back to the Decade of Decadence? Cause this wholesome new TikTok trend is gonna put you right back in the attitude-filled, neon colored post-disco era otherwise known as the 80s.

Specifically, it’s going to take you back to an 80s dance club.

In the trend, kids ask their parents to “dance like it’s the 80s,” as the 1984 track “Smalltown Boy” by the British pop band Bronski Beat plays in the background. The song's high energy tempo mixed with heartbreaking, anguish-ridden lyrics make it a fitting choice to bring us back to the time period.

As for the parents—let's just say that muscle memory kicks in the minute the tune begins to play, and it’s a whole vibe.


Check out Tabatha Lynn's video of her mom, Leanne Lynn, which currently has over 8 million views.

@tabathalynnk My moms 80s dance moves, I wanna be her when I grow up 😍 our kids better not ask us this in 30 years 😂 #80s #momsoftiktok #dancemoves ♬ original sound - Tiktok / IG strategy 🚀

Leanne and Tabatha told TODAY that since going viral, the dance is now a common “topic of conversation in the family text group.”

There are two factors here that folks really seem to connect with.

One: 80s dancing was simple. Just moving to the rhythm, maybe a head bob for some flair or a robot if you’re feeling adventurous. Of course, the 80s had ambitious moves like the worm and the moonwalk, but for the most part it was just about groovin’ to beat.

@marynepi One thing about Ms. Suzanne, shes gonna slay. #fypage #dance #slay #80s #yasqueen #trending #trend ♬ original sound - Tiktok / IG strategy 🚀

Then there’s seeing the parents light up at the chance to go back to the days of their youth.

“I can literally see the young women in these women spring out in fluidity. Love this trend,” one person commented.

@lavaleritaaa Love her 😭 “Se me espeluco el moño” 😂 #80s #momdancechallenge ♬ original sound - Tiktok / IG strategy 🚀

Another seconded, “I love seeing moms remember when they were just themselves.”

Of course, dads are totally rocking this trend too. Check it out:

@chrisbrown711 I dont normally do trends but i got in on this one. How did I do? #fyp #blessed #80sdancechallenge #80smusic #80s ♬ original sound - Tiktok / IG strategy 🚀

The 80s was a time of rapid expansion for music. Much of this we have the birth of MTV to thank for, which subsequently dropped music videos, CDs and a vast array of sub genres straight into the heart of pop culture.

Plus, the 80s brought us the synthesizer, which remains a strangely satisfying sound even in 2024. So while the era might have brought some things that most of us would prefer not to revisit—like acid washed denim and awful, awful hairstyles—some of its gems are truly timeless.

The trend also shows how, even though the weekly outing to a dance hall might be a thing of the past, people inherently want to bust a move. Luckily, there’s no shortage of clubs that cater to someone’s music tastes, no matter the era.

Speaking for 00s teens everywhere…just play the Cha Cha slide and we’ll come a-runnin.

Family

Dad takes 7-week paternity leave after his second child is born and is stunned by the results

"These past seven weeks really opened up my eyes on how the household has actually ran, and 110% of that is because of my wife."

@ustheremingtons/TikTok

There's a lot to be gleaned from this.

Participating in paternity leave offers fathers so much more than an opportunity to bond with their new kids. It also allows them to help around the house and take on domestic responsibilities that many new mothers have to face alone…while also tending to a newborn.

All in all, it enables couples to handle the daunting new chapter as a team, making it less stressful on both parties. Or at least equally stressful on both parties. Democracy!

TikTok creator and dad Caleb Remington, from the popular account @ustheremingtons, confesses that for baby number one, he wasn’t able to take a “single day of paternity leave.”

This time around, for baby number two, Remington had the privilege of taking seven weeks off (to be clear—his employer offered four weeks, and he used an additional three weeks of PTO).

The time off changed Remington’s entire outlook on parenting, and his insights are something all parents could probably use.


“It's unfortunately the end of my maternity —ahem— paternity leave,” Remington quips at the beginning of his video, via voiceover. “I only joke because my wife is truly the man of the house. And call me what you want, but I am totally okay with that.”

He then shares that after getting to spend quality time with his family to create precious memories—losing track of time to “watch ants cross the sidewalk,” for instance—he feels “guilty” about not doing so with their firstborn.

“[It] made me realize how many of those small moments I missed out the first time, but I'm looking past that guilt and grateful that I had some time to make it up,” he says.

You’ll notice that during this entire video, Remington is also doing chores. Sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, washing dishes, wiping the countertops…you get the picture.

@ustheremingtons I (caleb) am getting ready to go back into work and i am not ready. Grateful for my four weeks plus 3 weeks of PTO, but i feel like we were just getting into a groove and i was finally getting to have some 1 on 1 time with my son. Picking up the house today because we all function better with a clean space and we haven’t had time to do much of it while surviving these past 7 weeks. I do work from home and find that I have a little more flexibility in helping out here and there but i am also pretty glued and have to be zoned in during work hours. I do however have some pretty awesome and understanding coworkers and company!Shout out to @SAMBAZON Açaí 👊 Tiff is an all star: working and stay at home mom. I am dedicated in doing better to help balance more of the domestic responsibilities. #paternityleave #dadtok #dadsover30 #dadlife #fyp #foryoupage #ditl #ditlvlog #maternityleave #newbornlife #newbornbaby #secondbaby #2under2 #toddlerlife ♬ original sound - Tiffany + Caleb

Why is he doing this? His wife, aka “the lady with the milk bags,” has been so stressed with the house being messy that Remington decided to focus on doing all the housecleaning so that she could spend time with the kids.

Doing a fair share of the domestic labor is something Remington admits to failing at their first time around. Spending seven weeks taking on more responsibilities, however, opened his eyes to the fact that what he previously saw as doing his “fair share” was actually doing “the bare minimum.”

“It has taken multiple conversations — and many ongoing ones — to truly master how to take on more of the mental load of raising children, growing our marriage and taking care of our investments like our home.”

Proof that having difficult conversations can lead to better understanding!

Lastly, Remington reflects on how the emotional turbulence of being new parents challenged his relationship, even though he and his wife were good communicators and aware of how much effort would be required.

“I honestly hated how much we fought, how much I felt misunderstood, and how much I misunderstood her…so now as second-time parents, I feel like we're a little bit more prepared. Prepared in how we talk to each other, prepared in how I balance work, life, and personal life, and prepared to just let things go,” he says.

Definitely valuable insights for anyone navigating baby number one. Or number five, for that matter.

Remington’s story stands as a great example of just how beneficial paternity leave can be. It offers priceless bonding time, an equal balance of responsibilities, and more time for much needed reflection as parents begin a pivotal new chapter in their lives.


This article originally appeared on 9.7.23

Christine Kesteloo has one big problem living on a cruise ship.

A lot of folks would love to trade lives with Christine Kesteloo. Her husband is the Chief Engineer on a cruise ship, so she gets to live on the boat pretty much for free as the “wife on board.” For Christine, life is a lot like living on a permanent vacation.

“I live on a cruise ship for half the year with my husband, and it's often as glamorous as it sounds,” she told Insider. “After all, I don't cook, clean, make my bed, do laundry or pay for food.“

Living an all-inclusive lifestyle seems like paradise, but it has some drawbacks. Having access to all-you-can-eat food all day long can really have an effect on one’s waistline. Kesteloo admits that living on a cruise ship takes a lot of self-discipline because the temptation is always right under her nose.


“One of the hardest things about living on a cruise ship is that I know right now, if I just leave my cabin, I can go and have cookies, pizza, a shake, I could have anything I wanted, and I want it, I absolutely want it,” she said in a TikTok video that received over 400,000 views.

@dutchworld_americangirl

The hardest part about living on a cruise ship is that I am surrounded by free food all of the time anything I want I just had lunch but it’s 2 o’clock in my body tells me it’s either cookie time or time for a hamburger. The hardest part is telling myself not to eat. #hardestpart #cruiseship #livingatsea #koningsdam #weliveonacruiseship #cruisefoodie #foodtok #itsaproblem #halcruises #hollandamericaline

“I am laying here. It is 2 pm. I had a salad for lunch, I had some fresh fruit, but that didn’t fill me up,” she continued. “Right now, all I can think about is eating a burger with some French fries and some mayonnaise.”

“And that, folks, is the absolute hardest part about living on a cruise ship,” she said. “I am surrounded by food all the time.”

She added, "The hardest part is telling myself not to eat.”

Kesteloo’s trouble is a common problem among people on cruise ships. A study by Admiral Travel Insurance found that over 60% of people who go on a week-long cruise anticipate gaining weight. Seventeen percent of people say they gain 2 to 3 pounds on a cruise, while 14% say they gain 4 to 5 pounds.

Other estimates show that the average cruiser will put on 5 to 10 pounds on a weeklong cruise. Imagine living on a cruise ship for half the year, like Kesteloo. She could quickly put on 100 pounds a year if she's not careful.

"I’d be huge if I lived there. I would feel like I’m on a constant vacation, and who diets on vacation?" Theresa Gramelsapcker-Wilson wrote in the comments.

"This is my main reason why I couldn’t do this HHAHAHAHAHAA," Cara Mia added.

"I never thought about those who actually live on a cruise ship. I would be 500 pounds," Lucky Penny2468 said.

Kesteloo’s battle with temptation shows that in every life, a little rain must fall. Nobody ever truly has it perfect. Kesteloo seems to be living the perfect life on board a cruise ship, but she still has to fight temptation every moment of the day or make good use of the ship’s gym facilities. But, obviously, having access to too much food is far better than having too little.


This article originally appeared on 9.5.23