Monthly Archives: March 2019

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The Terrible Twos: The Best Things to Do With a Two-Year-Old (And Keep Them Entertained)

You’ve heard about the honeymoon phase of marriage. Did you know there’s also one for parenthood?

When you bring home your newborn, the first few months to a year are a blur of sweet-smelling baby hair, snuggles, and soft cotton onesies. The bliss makes even those early morning feedings and mid-afternoon blowouts 100% worth it.

Then, your crawling infant becomes a tottering toddler and everything he or she does isn’t quite so cute anymore. There are temper tantrums and potty training to deal with, on top of the fact that your bundle of joy can now ransack any cabinet in your house with ease.

You’ve entered the twos. But, they don’t have to be terrible.

A prepared parent is armed with plenty of fun resources to make this stage as sweet as the one before it.

Today, we’re sharing some of our favorite things to do with a two-year-old that can spark creativity and make even the longest days zoom by.

Ready to learn more? Let’s go!

1. Visit the Zoo, Aquarium or Museum

Stressed out parents know that sometimes, you need to get out of the house. Even if you love your home, it’s hard to find peace with toys strewn all about, half-empty juice boxes on the counter and piles of laundry everywhere. 

This is where a membership to the local zoo, aquarium or children’s museum is pure gold. 

Instead of asking for toys that your child will outgrow in a few months, request that friends or family members consider gifting a membership instead.

Often, an annual pass to one of these will get you a reduced rate at the other. This means you may pay full-price for a family membership to the zoo, but get in for half-price at the nearby children’s museums.

Check out this list of the best museums in each state to get started!

Pack a stroller, plenty of snacks and sunblock. Then, head out and plan to spend the whole day there. You’ll make memories and restore your sanity along the way. You may even learn a few facts that surprise you!

2. Schedule a Playdate

Sometimes, we just need to sit and talk with other parents while our kids play nearby.

Reach out to someone in your community that has a child around the same age as yours! This might be a friend of theirs from preschool, your neighborhood, or your place of worship. 

Then, invite them over or meet at the local playground for some adult catch-up time. Studies show that two-year-olds are entering into a time of social and emotional growth. Time with peers can be a great way to learn valuable lessons such as sharing, empathy and manners. 

3. Check Out the Library

Search for your county-wide library system online. Chances are, there are more than a few branches, and each should have its own website. 

See if any offer toddler storytime. Often, these are held a few times a week in the mid-morning timeframe. Especially if you’re a stay-at-home parent, this can be a great addition to your weekly routine.

Here, they’ll listen to stories, interact with others, create crafts, sing songs and more. When you’re done, visit the children’s section of the library and check out a few books! This is a great way to instill a lifetime love of reading in your child, which can do wonders for his vocabulary, memory, concentration and analytical thinking skills.

4. Learn at the Grocery Store

You want to find new inspiration for 2-year-old games. You want to keep him entertained and enlightened. Yet, you also need to run some errands. 

We’ve all been there. The good news? There’s one spot that pulls double duty: the grocery store.

While you stock up on menu items for the week, let your little one help! He can toss apples in the produce bag, help you measure and weigh ingredients and point to some of his favorite goodies. You can even help him learn his letters by reading labels.

Let him ride in the cart and feel like a little king while you cross this one off your to-do list. 

5. Play on His Level

While outside excursions are fun, there will be days when you’re at home with your little one. To this end, there are plenty of indoor activities for 2-year-olds that can keep adults entertained, too.

One of the simplest is to get down on your child’s level and roll a ball back and forth or push toy cars around. Yes, it’s simple, but this small activity is improving her fine motor skills and cognitive abilities. 

You can also break out the wooden building blocks and create a tower, teaching your child how to create and construct.

In fact, there has been a recent resurgence of interest in wooden toys as a whole. They’re safer for your child (especially if you have a chewer), more durable and, let’s face it, look better scattered around a nursery than a sea of brightly-colored plastic.

As you stock up on these toys, read more about the benefits they provide and why they’re destined to always be classics.  

Try These Things to Do with a Two-Year-Old

Parenting a toddler is no easy task. There will be days when bath time can’t come soon enough. 

Yet, this can also be one of the sweetest, most memorable times in both of your lives if you allow it. Planning ahead and setting a schedule early in the week is the best way to ensure your days aren’t filled with empty hours and restless energy.

There are plenty of things to do with a two-year-old that can enrich even the toughest days.

Want more information on how to live, work and play better? We’ve got you covered. Our blog is full of tips and hacks for making every day exciting.

As crazy as this season of life is, the reality is that babies grow up and before you can blink, you’ll be an empty nester. Get a leg up now and use our guide to start planning for retirement!

Then, take a deep breath. You’ve got this!

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10 Mind-Blowing Facts About Coral Reefs You Didn’t Know

Did you know that the value of coral reefs is about 30 billion dollars?

It’s no surprise that coral reefs fascinate so many people when they see them.

They are some of the most mysterious and biologically diverse structures on Earth.

Keep reading to learn some mind-blowing facts about coral reefs you didn’t know.

10 Mind-Blowing Facts About Coral Reefs You Didn’t Know

Coral reefs are beautiful to go see or watch in a documentary. They are so beautiful that some people choose to have them in home aquariums especially when going through a home renovation to add some more style. They have to do some homework and learn more in order to keep their aquarium ecosystem perfect.

When coral reefs are healthy it means that the water around it is also healthy. While many of us find them beautiful and fascinating they are an important part of all of life on earth. There are so many facts about coral reefs that are mind-blowing.

1. Color

The reason coral reefs are colorful is because of the algae. The algae live inside the reef and provide the reef with its food.

The most common color for corals is light and golden brown. They are also found in bright green, bright blue, and magenta or red. They are able to change their color based on where they are and their environment. 

When they are colorful it’s an indication that they are healthy. When coral turns white or clear it’s a sign that they are stressed

2. Hard Shell

When coral is removed out of its water environment the hard shell you see is the shell of a polyp. Polyps are soft-bodied organisms that have a hard base which is what forms the structures of coral reefs.

The polyp attaches itself to a rock on the ocean floor and then divides into thousands of clones.

3. Not Plants

Many people confuse corals for being plants. They’re actually not plants, they’re animals or organisms related to anemones and jellyfish. 

4. Fishing Industry

In the fishing industry, coral reefs are very important. They’re a natural habitat for the baitfish that are used to fish for large species of fish such as, tuna.

Destructive fishing or overfishing is not good for coral reefs which is why there are laws in certain places to prevent overfishing certain areas.

5. Strong Currents

Wherever there are strong currents and strong wave patterns are where reefs grow the strongest. The stronger the currents and waves are, means that more food is delivered to all of the animal life that helps create the structure.

6. Biodiverse

Coral reefs believe it or not is home to thousands of species, making them one of the most biodiverse marine areas on the planet. Coral reefs are nurseries for large fish species to keep the babies safe until they’re large enough to go into deeper water. They’re also an important location to find food, mates, and shelter for many marine species.

7. Water Quality

The water quality found around coral reefs is improved because they act as filters. The reefs trap things that are floating in the water. This makes for clean water all around the coral reefs.

Coral reefs depend on having quality water around them in order to survive and thrive. 

8. Sea Bed

The sea bed is more stable wherever you find coral reefs growing. They help sea plants and seagrass survive. The more plants that grow on the seabed, the fewer impact surges and storms are able to have on the seabeds.

The plants that are protected by the coral reef don’t allow the bottom of the bed to be washed out deeper. Manatees and other sea mammals are able to feed and raise their calves near these seabeds of seagrass. It provides their young a more protected environment before going out on their own.

9. Microplastic

In a 2017 study, they found that corals mistake plastic for food and eat it. They also found that corals like and prefer the taste of plastic. During the experiment, they fed a group of corals different options including tiny bits of plastic and they preferred the plastic each time.

They also found that they prefer unfouled plastic during their study suggesting that something in the plastic itself is tasty to them.

10. Medicines

Coral reefs are an important source of new medicines in the medical industry. They help in the development of medicines that are being developed for arthritis, heart disease, viruses, Alzheimer’s disease, bacterial infections, and cancer. 

They have found that parts of the coral reef can be harvested to make the medications. The reason they have helped in the medicinal world is that since they’re stationary animals they have evolved defenses in order to protect themselves in times of change and against predators. Scientists research the medicinal potential of reefs on a daily basis.

Coral reef ecosystems are sometimes called the medicine cabinets of the 21st century because of all the possibilities they bring to medicine. They might represent an important source of medical treatments in the future. They might also become an important source of supplements, makeup, and pesticides in the near future.

Lots of Interesting Info

Who would’ve thought that there were so many facts about coral reefs? Looking at them always brings a mystery and fascination but now after reading the ten fun facts above, that you probably didn’t know you will see them through a different lens next time you encounter coral reefs.

Whether you’re a huge fan of the ocean or not you have to admit that marine life is fascinating and mysterious. 

Check out more of our blog posts to learn about all things interesting. You can find everything from lifestyle advice to current events in one place.

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10 Mind-Blowing Facts About Coral Reefs You Didn’t Know

Did you know that the value of coral reefs is about 30 billion dollars?

It’s no surprise that coral reefs fascinate so many people when they see them.

They are some of the most mysterious and biologically diverse structures on Earth.

Keep reading to learn some mind-blowing facts about coral reefs you didn’t know.

10 Mind-Blowing Facts About Coral Reefs You Didn’t Know

Coral reefs are beautiful to go see or watch in a documentary. They are so beautiful that some people choose to have them in home aquariums especially when going through a home renovation to add some more style. They have to do some homework and learn more in order to keep their aquarium ecosystem perfect.

When coral reefs are healthy it means that the water around it is also healthy. While many of us find them beautiful and fascinating they are an important part of all of life on earth. There are so many facts about coral reefs that are mind-blowing.

1. Color

The reason coral reefs are colorful is because of the algae. The algae live inside the reef and provide the reef with its food.

The most common color for corals is light and golden brown. They are also found in bright green, bright blue, and magenta or red. They are able to change their color based on where they are and their environment. 

When they are colorful it’s an indication that they are healthy. When coral turns white or clear it’s a sign that they are stressed

2. Hard Shell

When coral is removed out of its water environment the hard shell you see is the shell of a polyp. Polyps are soft-bodied organisms that have a hard base which is what forms the structures of coral reefs.

The polyp attaches itself to a rock on the ocean floor and then divides into thousands of clones.

3. Not Plants

Many people confuse corals for being plants. They’re actually not plants, they’re animals or organisms related to anemones and jellyfish. 

4. Fishing Industry

In the fishing industry, coral reefs are very important. They’re a natural habitat for the baitfish that are used to fish for large species of fish such as, tuna.

Destructive fishing or overfishing is not good for coral reefs which is why there are laws in certain places to prevent overfishing certain areas.

5. Strong Currents

Wherever there are strong currents and strong wave patterns are where reefs grow the strongest. The stronger the currents and waves are, means that more food is delivered to all of the animal life that helps create the structure.

6. Biodiverse

Coral reefs believe it or not is home to thousands of species, making them one of the most biodiverse marine areas on the planet. Coral reefs are nurseries for large fish species to keep the babies safe until they’re large enough to go into deeper water. They’re also an important location to find food, mates, and shelter for many marine species.

7. Water Quality

The water quality found around coral reefs is improved because they act as filters. The reefs trap things that are floating in the water. This makes for clean water all around the coral reefs.

Coral reefs depend on having quality water around them in order to survive and thrive. 

8. Sea Bed

The sea bed is more stable wherever you find coral reefs growing. They help sea plants and seagrass survive. The more plants that grow on the seabed, the fewer impact surges and storms are able to have on the seabeds.

The plants that are protected by the coral reef don’t allow the bottom of the bed to be washed out deeper. Manatees and other sea mammals are able to feed and raise their calves near these seabeds of seagrass. It provides their young a more protected environment before going out on their own.

9. Microplastic

In a 2017 study, they found that corals mistake plastic for food and eat it. They also found that corals like and prefer the taste of plastic. During the experiment, they fed a group of corals different options including tiny bits of plastic and they preferred the plastic each time.

They also found that they prefer unfouled plastic during their study suggesting that something in the plastic itself is tasty to them.

10. Medicines

Coral reefs are an important source of new medicines in the medical industry. They help in the development of medicines that are being developed for arthritis, heart disease, viruses, Alzheimer’s disease, bacterial infections, and cancer. 

They have found that parts of the coral reef can be harvested to make the medications. The reason they have helped in the medicinal world is that since they’re stationary animals they have evolved defenses in order to protect themselves in times of change and against predators. Scientists research the medicinal potential of reefs on a daily basis.

Coral reef ecosystems are sometimes called the medicine cabinets of the 21st century because of all the possibilities they bring to medicine. They might represent an important source of medical treatments in the future. They might also become an important source of supplements, makeup, and pesticides in the near future.

Lots of Interesting Info

Who would’ve thought that there were so many facts about coral reefs? Looking at them always brings a mystery and fascination but now after reading the ten fun facts above, that you probably didn’t know you will see them through a different lens next time you encounter coral reefs.

Whether you’re a huge fan of the ocean or not you have to admit that marine life is fascinating and mysterious. 

Check out more of our blog posts to learn about all things interesting. You can find everything from lifestyle advice to current events in one place.

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The Ultimate 10-Step Plan for Preparing for Retirement Like a Boss

If retirement is approaching, you’ve come to the right place.

Being able to retire at a healthy age and spend quality time with your friends and family is an incredible achievement. So many people of retirement age aren’t able to do so due to financial restrictions, but that doesn’t have to be you.

With frugality and responsible savings, you can retire happy and healthy to a life of relaxation. You don’t have to be rich to retire and you don’t have to live poor when you do. In this post, we’re going to show you a 10-step guide for preparing for retirement.

It’s not as hard or as complicated as you might think. Why delay any longer? Let’s get started.

1. Envision Your Retirement

If you want to retire on your terms, you need to envision how you want to live during retirement. Of course, you want to live without restrictions, but you also need to be realistic about what you can and can’t do.

Instead of focusing on the financial aspects, make a list of things that you want to do in retirement. It can include anything; places that you want to travel, things that you want to save for, or maybe it’s just living comfortably for the rest of your life.

Keep it practical. Don’t include any unnecessary expenses and make the goals financially attainable and in-line with how you’ve saved. Making this list will give you goals and things to work towards during your retirement.

2. Look Into Health Insurance

Go see a doctor before you retire to take advantage of your work-sponsored health coverage. Get prescriptions filled, have a check-up, and have any procedures taken care of to ensure that you’re in tip-top shape.

Medicare will start at around age 65, but it’ll only cover roughly half of your medical expenses. Make sure to budget for this when you first begin to consider retirement. You don’t want to run into any unforeseen health problems that drain your retirement fund.

3. Make Easy Lifestyle Changes

To make saving easier and make your retirement fund larger, make small lifestyle changes as you approach retirement age. Maybe it means cutting back on eating out, drinking less alcohol, or even downsizing your living situation. Cutting costs now will mean more money later.

Take into account the fact that your actual living expenses won’t be as high when you do retire. You won’t have to commute to work and back, which will mean less money on gas and auto repairs.

4. Social Security Benefits

The later your social security benefits kick in, the better. If you wait until full retirement age, you can collect 100% of your social security benefits. The earliest you can get your social security benefits is at 62, but things like pension loans are available if you need them.

Everyone has a different optimal age to activate their social security benefits and there are calculators online that help you figure out exactly what that is. You’ll want to consider your own life expectancy vs. how much money you have saved to determine when is best for you.

5. Assets…

Consider your assets as well as your cash savings. This might include your home, any valuable collectibles, and antiques. Non-traditional assets can also be turned into income. Maybe you’re an amateur musician or a writer. You can turn your hobbies and passions into potential money-makers during retirement.

6. How Much Do You Want to Work?

Maybe you’ve hit retirement age and you’re not quite ready to stop working. It’s possible to partially retire. Maybe those non-traditional assets that we discussed earlier could come into play. You can work part-time for a while to maintain some income while you transition into retirement.

If you’ve got loftier goals for retirement, like a lot of travel or a vacation home, then you might need to work part-time to afford those things. If you’re up for it, there’s no shame in continuing to work when your career is over.

7. Budget For Lifestyle

If you don’t want to continue to work, you need to budget properly to accommodate the lifestyle that you’ve envisioned for yourself in retirement. 

Cutting costs before retirement will allow you to build up a retirement fund, but you need to continue to stick to a budget so that you can do the things you want to do. Staying organized with budgeting software will help you achieve this goal.

8. Prepare For Unexpected Costs

Unforeseen things can happen, so it’s important to have an emergency fund set up in addition to your retirement fund. Anything from minor housing repairs to major health problems could crop up to disrupt plans.

Don’t let the fear of potential problems change how you live, but sit down with your family and crunch some numbers to get a suitable amount of money in your emergency fund. 

9. Preparing For Retirement Emotionally

Retirement is a huge lifestyle change. Your body and mind get used to working every day and when you stop, it can be a shock to the system. It’s good to do a bit of reading to prepare yourself for retirement day.

One of the best things you can do to stave off this shock is to stay active. A trip to the gym or even a short walk every day will keep your body feeling normal. Not having to go to work will be great, but it’s important to keep busy too.

10. Stay the Course

Piggybacking on the last point, you have to stay the course when it comes to your retirement plan. It can be easy to fall into a routine, but you should stick to the vision that you set for yourself at the beginning.

If you’ve done everything the right way, you should have enough money to do the things that you want to do. So, do them! Retirement should be a time where you celebrate a productive career and enjoy some well-deserved free time.

Enjoy Your Retirement

Follow these steps and you’ll be able to enjoy your retirement. The most important thing to do when preparing for retirement is to be financially responsible. If you do that, you should be able to do the things you want to do, buy the things you want to buy, and travel to the places you want to see. 

Visit Recursive Loop to see more posts on anything from lifestyle advice to news and current events.

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5 Stellar Beer Labels as Good as the Beer Itself

The latest statistics reveal over 6,000 craft breweries in the United States. Beer is popular, and the craft brew industry grew by 15% from 2016-2017.

If you’re a craft brewer, how do you stand out in this growing market?

Brewing tasty beer is a must. But don’t forget about your beer labels. A lot of thought goes into the labels. And these days, the labels are works of art, eye-catching and colorful.  

Read on for a look at 5 epic and unforgettable beer label designs. 

1. Guinness Porter and Classic Guinness

If you’re talking about beer labels, you’ve got to pay homage to Guinness. The Guinness Extra Stout label first launched in 1862. The classic elements of the design are on the bottle today. 

Arthur Guinness’ signature graces the bottle while the harp symbol and name are front and center. 

The Guinness Porter labels took inspiration from the old brewing books from which the porter recipes originated. These custom beer labels feature die-cut shapes and hand lettering. 

2. Delirium Tremens 

The pink elephant on the label of Delirium Tremens alerts you to the 8.5% alcohol by volume (ABV). The pink elephant sits daintily on an opaque white bottle. 

The elephants on the beer are color coded for ABV. The red elephant is the strongest. 

The label is cool, and the white bottle sets it apart. 

3. Hell or High Watermelon

Drinking this beer is plain fun because the label is so awesome. The comic-book style design shows The Statue of Liberty sitting on the Golden Gate Bridge. Her lamp lies to the side. 

The dominant color is retro blue. The beer comes from the 21st Amendment Brewery. That’s the famous amendment repealing Prohibition. 

You can’t beat this beer when it comes to the brewery name, the libation name, and the cool design. 

If you haven’t tried this beer, it’s high time you did. 

4. Lazersnake

The LazerSnake label is a work of art by Phineas X. Jones, designed by Zimmer-Design. The bottle sports a colorful, tattoo-like design that’s both futuristic and dark in nature. 

The colors harken to 1960s tie-dye shirts. Even the cap is colorful. The snake has laser guns drawn, and its body is an amalgam of scaly flesh and space ship. 

5. Murk Mobile 

Surfing, sun, VW Vans, and Scooby Doo, that’s what this label brings back for you! And don’t forget the infamous “flower power.” It’s all there in one place on Murk Mobile’s label. 

You’ll love the bright red, neon green, and blue combination. This double India pale ale label is sure to knock your socks off. 

Unforgettable Beer Labels

These are only a few of the many unforgettable beer labels from the last few years. From the classic Guinness to Murk Mobile, there are so many artistic beer label designs on the market today. 

If you’re a brewer, don’t make your label an afterthought. Many beer connoisseurs pick up their six-back because they can’t resist the label. If you’re a beer drinker, keep enjoying those mini works of art!

And if you’re looking for more blog posts, take a look here