Humble Beginnings

Maryanna had high aspirations when she was four years old. Her older sister kept this preschool document because she knew it would be meaningful someday. And when Maryanna recently received her acceptance letter from Berkeley, it was time to bring it out. The top comment:

I've heard that Berkeley has one of the top postgraduate dishwashing programs in America. Go for your dream!

-via reddit



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Boyhood- A Film Featuring A Child Star Actually Growing Up

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Many filmmakers feel the only way to show a character grow up during a movie is to actually shoot the film over a period long enough to allow the actor to age naturally, but this is generally not feasible because Hollywood demands sacrificial offerings movies on a yearly, if not quarterly, basis. 

A new film called Boyhood is about to change those rules, because this feature film depicts a child star actually growing up during production, a feat that took twelve years of filming to accomplish.

Director Richard Linklater wanted to make a film that showed "a parent-child relationship that follows a boy from the 1st through the 12th grade and ends with him going off to college", but to do that he had to film scenes once a year for twelve years, changing the script as needed to keep up with how the boy changed in real life over the years.

It's a bold experiment in humanistic filmmaking, one which movie studios are unlikely to repeat anytime soon.

-Via 22 Words



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Anti-Bullying Messages

(YouTube link)

I’m not sure what to think about this PSA from VH1. The kids who are victimized by bullies as children dream of growing up and being just as cruel in adulthood. Well, maybe it’s supposed to be entertainment instead of a PSA. I don’t think there are too many children watching VH1 anyway. -via Time Newsfeed


(YouTube link)

A much better teaching moment comes in author George Saunders’ commencement speech to the 2013 graduating class of Syracuse University, animated by Above Average. The world can be changed by kindness becoming the cool thing. Because that’s one thing you will not regret 40 years later. If the coolest, most popular kids stood up for the underdog, things would change for the cool kids, the victims, and the bullies. -also via Time Newsfeed



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You’re Going to be a Grandpa

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Jessica Hickey is an only child, and her father has been a widower for twenty years. Since she got married, he’s wanted a grandchild, and the moment finally came to break the news to him. This is short and terribly sweet, so you might want to have a hanky ready. The top comment at reddit brings us back down to earth:

He is crying because being a Cubs fan, he is not used to getting what he wants.

We wish the entire family all the happiness in the world. -via reddit



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Empathy

Children aren’t born knowing empathy. Even if they were, it wouldn’t extend to putting someone else’s needs before theirs. That takes years of living -sometimes decades. And some people never get that far! Parents just have to deal with it. This undoubtedly true-life vignette is brought to you by Lunarbaboon.



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Teens React to Mean Girls 10th Anniversary

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Mean Girls is only ten years old? I thought it was much older than that. But I recall when it came out, that I meant to watch it because I love Tina Fey. But I didn’t get around to it. Then when my daughters hit middle school, I made a point to watch Mean Girls with them, because I trust Tina Fey. Now the movie is ten years old, and these teenagers think that’s, like, ancient. But it has a universal message that’s still as relevant now as it was then -or even forty years ago when I was in high school. My message to my daughters was “Don’t ever be a mean girl,” although I suspected that they would more likely need a defense against mean girls, which first comes with understanding what is happening. I know from experience how such dishonesty, manipulation, and head games can mess with your adolescent years.

Mean Girls should be required viewing for every middle school student, and the book it is based on should be required reading for parents. Besides, if you’re not in the midst of dealing with teen angst, it’s hilarious. -via Viral Viral Videos



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Poem: I Hate Poetry

A fifth-grader named Panajotis wrote a poem for a slam poetry project during an Adventures in Creative Writing field trip. He obviously hates poetry, which is surprising, because it’s a rather good poem.

I hate poetry!
Poetry looks like a demon rising.
I don’t want to do this.
Poetry sounds like nails on a chalkboard.
I still don’t want to do this.
Poetry smells like skunk spray times

I still will not don’t want to do this.
Poetry tastes like rotten eggs with human brains.
I will never do this again.
Poetry feels like being frozen by a freeze ray.
Doesn’t everybody hate poetry?

Hey, Panajotis, poems are like everything else. There’s some very good poetry, and then there’s a lot of very bad poetry. I think he is well on his way to telling the difference. -via The Daily Dot



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Beware The Claw Machine, For It Craves Children!

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Kids and claw machines- what was once a novelty grade emergency has become an epidemic. Across the globe unsuspecting children are being swallowed up by ravenous claw machines no longer satisfied with mere quarters.

Claw machines have developed a rather unusual trait for snaring their young prey- they present the toy which the child desires most of all inside their bellies, then leave their prize hatch unlocked so the curious child can climb in after the shiny new toy.

Once the child is inside the machine begins to slowly digest the child using plush toys as makeshift stomach acid molecules, but since this process can take months most children are saved from the claw machine's evil clutches.

The child in this video was one of the lucky ones, but can your child resist the allure of the claw machine?

-Via Cheezburger



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16 Fun DIY Easter Decorations to Spruce Up Your Holiday

I don't know about you guys, but I can't believe Easter is finally here. I know it is late this year, but it still seems like it snuck up on us. If you're trying to figure out how to make your home a little more holiday spirited before your family comes over though, Homes and Hues can help.

That's because we rounded up some of the funnest, cutest and simplest DIY crafts to decorate your home with. We have everything from classy to kiddy and no matter how you celebrate, you're sure to find something you like.

Even if you don't celebrate Easter, the list is worth a peek because there are plenty of fantastic ideas perfect for springtime in general.

So check it out: 16 Easy and Fun Easter Decorations You Can Make Last Minute



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The Kindergarten Tribes

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I kiss my son goodbye and I stand at the fence watching him as he enters into the kindergarten school yard. I hope for another wave, but he pays no more attention to me. He drops his backpack near the place he is supposed to line up. Almost instantly he is greeted by a bevy of girls who chat with him for just a moment. Then he is off running wildly through the grass with another little boy. He is a citizen of his class and school. I am but a privileged outsider. I remain his confidant at home, but at school he is one of them.  He must navigate his way through the Kindergarten Tribes on his own.

From eight in the morning, until two in the afternoon, five days a week, he is part of Room 3. They march together, break bread together, and learn together. Their life is regimented. Each moment inside the classroom is accounted for. Structure is imperative. Without structure the class would break out into chaos. Even with structure there is sometimes chaos.  

Twice a day, during recess and lunch, however, the children of Room 3 are permitted free play time. Of course they have some play time in the classroom, but for safety and sanity that must be limited and more structured. I don’t think you can really call it true free play time. The true free play time comes when the children are released from the confines of their tiny classroom and marched to the wide open space of the kindergarten playground and set free.

I think it is only fair to note that my understanding of the playground tribes comes purely from my son’s accounts and perceptions. In the quiet of our kitchen he sits and tells me about his other life. He animatedly describes his adventures as a citizen of Room 3. He especially likes to talk about the playground tribes, but he swears me to secrecy.  The information he relays to me is classified. The tribes pride themselves on protecting their secrets.

The story he weaves is about two tiny neighboring kingdoms known as Room 2 and Room 3. Each kingdom houses about 25 citizens. Twice a day these kingdoms merge on the playground. From this melding 5 main tribes with 5 distinct leaders have arisen:  The Diggers, The Minecrafters, The Ballers, and The Superheroes and The Girls.

The Diggers

The Diggers are comprised of students who like to dig. They spend all or most of their free time in the sand area digging and building sand structures. There about 7 members of The Digger tribe.

Continue reading


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Dad Recreates Classic Album Covers With His Two Sons

Some dads really like to get creative with their kids, either building stuff for them or doing fun stuff with them, and thanks to the internet they’re able to share their fun projects with the world.

Lance Underwood is one of these creative dad type dudes, and he spent some quality time with his two sons recreating classic album covers. Lance puts a lot of work into these covers, making sure they all have the proper wardrobe and poses, and the end result is pretty much spot on, and totally adorable!

-Via DesignTAXI



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The Man with the Yellow Hat Gets Therapy

(Image: HMH Books)

Curious George the monkey and the Man with the Yellow Hat have been together a long time. They've been close companions since 1941. But that doesn't mean that they have a healthy relationship.

Far from it. They have serious codependency problems which the Man in the Yellow Hat is only beginning to see. George, of course, is resisting. He doesn't want to join the Man at therapy, just as he's generally opposed to the Man with the Yellow Hat having any sort of meaningful relationship with anyone else. Devorah Blachor of McSweeney's Internet Tendency provides transcripts of the Man's discussions with his therapist:

OK, this time we went out of the house, so really, I’m making an effort here. I took Mrs. Needleman on a European-inspired champagne brunch cruise along the Hudson. What more could I have done, I ask you?

We were just passing Battery Park and had selected a bottle of Gewürztraminer to go with the lobster bisque when suddenly there was a commotion on the outdoor deck.

“Monkey overboard!” someone was shouting.

Well, of course it was George! But you know, I did specifically tell him to stay out of trouble. He promised that he’d be good, but it is easy for little monkeys to forget.

After they pulled George aboard I dried him and let him wear my yellow hat to cheer him up and before I knew it, he was playing the grand piano and juggling chocolate truffles. All the passengers were watching him and applauding. He was the belle of the ball—it was adorable. I think about an hour passed before I noticed that Mrs. Needleman wasn’t there. We found her at the Liberty Bar, already on her fourth gin rickey. It was pretty embarrassing, to tell you the truth. We had to send her home in a taxi after we docked.

No, I can’t leave him at home. That’s exactly what Papa used to do to me. Why, I could never do that to George.

-via Nag on the Lake



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Student Records Bullies, Gets Hauled into Court

An unnamed sophomore at South Fayette High School in McDonald, Pennsylvania, was tired of being bullied every day. His mother thought he was exaggerating his reports about the treatment he received at school. So the teenager took matters into his own hands and gathered evidence by recording an incident on his school iPad. Guess who got into trouble for that.

Instead of questioning the students whose voices were recorded, school administrators threatened to charge him with felony wiretapping before eventually agreeing to reduce the charge to disorderly conduct. On Wednesday, March 19, the student, whose name we have agreed to not include in this story, was found guilty of disorderly conduct by District Judge Maureen McGraw-Desmet.

The student deleted the recording under orders from school administration, although his mother had already made a transcript. The alleged bullies heard on the recording were not disciplined. South Fayette Township police Lieutenant Robert Kurta defended the charge of disorderly conduct, saying the student “engaged in actions which served no legitimate purpose.” The student’s family attorney thinks that destruction of the evidence may also be a crime. The unnamed student is appealing his conviction. -via The Daily Dot

(Image credit: Tom Morris)

Update: Since the story made national news, things have changed. The charge against the student was rescinded on appeal.



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3 Awesome Experiments Dads Can Do With Their Kids

There are few things more satisfying than doing science experiments with your children. There are so many benefits! First, it's a great way to spend family time together. Second, it will feed your child's curiosity and spark an interest in science. Third, it's a lot of fun! And fourth, but most important, you will impress your child with your intelligence and skills. And you don't even have to have intelligence and skills if you have the right guidance.

That's why we are happy to bring you an excerpt from Dad's Book of Awesome Science Experiments: From Boiling Ice and Exploding Soap to Erupting Volcanoes and Launching Rockets, 30 Inventive Experiments to Excite the Whole Family! It's a new book by Mike Adamick that gives you step-by-step instructions adn explanations for impressive science experiments that will convince your children that you, Dad or Mom, Grandma or Uncle, are indeed awesome. The book ships on April 18th, but as a sneak preview, here are three of the thirty awesome experiments from the book.

Volcano Time!

If you grew up watching endless Brady Bunch reruns you’re probably familiar with Peter Brady’s volcano—a mud-spewing, steep-sided science project that sent showers of muck and sludge all over Peter’s sister, Marsha, and her snooty friends. It was the coolest thing ever.



There’s a good chance that this one episode alone launched our love affair with kitchen-sink volcano projects—an experiment so simple that you and your lab partner can most likely do it right now with stuff you already have in the kitchen. All you really need is vinegar, baking soda, and a bottle to mix them in, but it is much cooler to use good ol’ fashioned backyard dirt to construct a volcano model around the bottle first and then conduct the experiment.

Either way you do it, this is a science experiment with serious thrills. But it also expertly mimics what happens under the earth’s crust to create volcanic eruptions.

Here’s Why It Works

When the solid baking soda (sodium bicarbonate—a base) mixes with the liquid vinegar (acetic acid—a weak acid), a chemical reaction occurs and forms a gas (carbon dioxide). All those bubbles and foam? They’re evidence of gas, and as the gas expands, it looks for an escape route for all that built-up pressure. So the foam and bubbles rise until they flood out of your bottle’s opening.

Pretty much the same exact thing is happening under the earth right now.

The earth’s crust is made up of many sections of superthick shell—65-plus miles thick!—called tectonic plates that are always moving, very slowly, over the much, much hotter inner earth. Most of the world’s volcanoes are found where two or more of these tectonic plates meet one another. Sometimes those plates shift and sometimes they collide, forming escape routes in the earth’s crust for molten rocks and gas, called magma. Much like the carbon dioxide in your baking soda–vinegar experiment seeks the quickest escape route to relieve pressure, the gases in the underground magma do the same thing before erupting out of a volcano.

Not all eruptions are alike, however. Sometimes the gases in the magma are easily released from the earth’s crust and the result is a slow, oozing spread of superhot lava. But  sometimes the gases stay trapped beneath cooled magma and rock building up pressure until they erupt in violent explosions that can send ash and boulders flying up to 20 miles high. In fact, airplane pilots keep track of volcano activity around the earth, just to be sure they don’t fly into clouds of dangerous ash.

Here’s What You Need



Baking soda

Vinegar

A bottle (a good vase with a wide bottom and slender top also works well, but use whatever you can find)

Red food dye

String

Toilet paper

Here’s What You Do

Continue reading


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Name the Baby, Redux

Back in 2008, we posted a notice that Jason Morrison and his wife were having a baby and taking votes from internet users on what to name the child. Five and half years later, they have a daughter named Athena, and are expecting another baby! Once again, they are asking for your help to name the child, but there are a couple of differences. 1. They know this one is a boy, and 2. they are paying for the votes this time around.

My wife and I (along with some other Googlers) have pledged to donate $1 for each vote –   see details in the FAQ.  For $1, Save the Children can provide one complete polio vaccination course for a child.  Just by voting, you will be helping a child in need.  If you would like to join us and donate $1 of your own, please go to this OneToday campaign.  Google OneToday makes donating to a good cause easy and fun.

As you might be able to tell from that paragraph alone, Jason works for Google. Read the rest of the story (and vote) at his blog.



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Baby Starts Dancing When The EDM Beat Drops

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For some reason EDM (electronic dance music) really appeals to young children. Maybe it’s the driving beat and the catchy sounds used as hooks, or it’s the simplicity of the rhythm that appeals to their fresh young ears.

Whatever the reason little kids really like to cut loose and boogie their little butts off whenever they hear an EDM track, but the baby in this video has mastered the art of ninja dancing, waiting for the beat to drop before she comes to life and jams out with her sisters.

-Via Cheezburger



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Toddler Sings the Blues

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A member of the Argentinian band Tota Blues posted this video of his toddler son singing the blues. He was just under two years old at the time. You can say a child is too young for the blues when he hasn’t ever been unhappy, but this little guy has certainly heard his share of the music! I’d like to know how much of what he’s singing is Spanish, and how much is baby talk.

Here's more information from infobae. In the original Spanish. -Thanks, Juliana Zambelli



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Kids’ Choir on Ellen

(YouTube link)

You recall the video of the Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences choir singing "Happy." That video came to the attention of Ellen DeGeneres, who arranged for the choir to be featured on her show, which was a total surprise for the kids and their choir director. They were under the impression that they were assembled to make another video. Being on the show wasn’t the only surprise, as Pharrell Williams and his big hat were also there, and the choir was given a check to fund their trip to Disney World and more. You can see a video of the rest of their performance without the commercial break at Blazenfluff.



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Uplifting Animated Short - Helium Harvey

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If we could take flight simply by swallowing a bunch of helium, like characters often do in cartoons, then the world would be virtually devoid of children and those who consider themselves kids at heart.

They’d all be floating their way across the globe, hoping they don’t get snagged on a branch and pop, and then we’d have to clean up a bunch of exploded carcasses that look like human shaped balloons.

Thankfully this animated short called Helium Harvey doesn’t stray into the real very much, preferring to show a lighthearted and fanciful version of what a kid floating free would look like.

Helium Harvey was created by Daniel Savage, a Brooklynite who has always dreamt of taking to the skies in his pajamas so he can see the world and take a nap at the same time!

-Via Laughing Squid



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The Sustainability Treehouse Reminds Us What's Worth Protecting

While the Boy Scouts are in the news a lot these days for certain conservative policies, their basic values are noble -sustainability, education and respect for example. And their new Sustainability Treehouse in the Summit Betchel Reserve of West Virginia reinforces these important ideals by placing an emphasis on sustainability.

The building's stunning location not only emphasizes just what is at risk if we don't change our polluting ways, but the premise is also an example of just how well sustainability works -leaving basically no footprint between its solar and wind turbine generated power and rain cistern and water cleansing system.

You can find out more about the great educational facility (and see more pictures of the striking property) over at Homes and Hues: The Sustainability Treehouse Educates While It Excites



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Super Adorable Yet Somehow Creepy - The Baby Avengers

Awww, those widdle Avengers look so cute when they’re babies! Not sure about the baby facial hair though, but I guess when you’re a superhero even your beard grows at an accelerated rate.

The stars of this baby faced Avengers caricature series by Ben Oliver don’t look like they’d be very good in a fight, except for baby Hulk who looks just like Ron English’s angry baby Temper Tot, Hulk always looks ready to smash!

Are Asgardians born with facial hair? And how did poor lil Nicky Fury put his eye out? He was probably running with scissors during arts and crafts!

-Via Geekosystem



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Sisters

Donnie Brainard’s 15-year-old daughter India, who has cerebral palsy, underwent surgery for scoliosis and is having a difficult road to recovery. She has been hospitalized for quite some time and hasn’t seen her sister for 65 days. They finally got to visit, and Brainard posted a sweet photo of their reunion. The picture reminds me of another pair of sisters.



You can follow India’s story at Brainard’s blog.



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Check out Twaggies' very funny clip:

Give a Man a Fish - Twaggies by Twaggies

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