Step2 Thomas the Tank Engine Toddler Bed {Review}

I am partnering with Step2 for the following review. I received a product in exchange for my review and honest opinion. No other compensation was provided.

If you have a little one that loves Thomas the Tank Engine, trains, or just needs a fun, new bed, then this is the bed for you! Trent never really slept in his crib, except for naps, so the transition to a toddler bed was something we more than expected to be a long and arduous task. We are taking it one step at a time and just going with the flow of what works for us. One thing is for sure, Trent was super excited when he saw the box that contained this Step2 Thomas the Tank Engine Toddler Bed!

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What’s funny is that he knew what was inside was for him. Brett slid it into the house and Trent immediately went nuts to get Brett to open it. I’m not sure he knew what it was, but he was excited nonetheless. He kept pulling on Brett’s hand to lead him back over to the box so that he would open it. Once it was opened, Trent helped Brett pull the pieces out and was such a good helper. Funny how good and helpful kids can be when they want something!!

I was happy to hear how excited Trent was with just the box and assembly of the bed. I hoped his excitement translated to the act of actually sleeping in the bed!

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While we are still working on the transition (being 8+ months pregnant, I admit I take the easy way out some nights), he definitely loves the Thomas bed. It’s just so much more fun than a regular bed, and a fun bed is more likely to keep a child interested and excited to be in it, that’s for sure.

The bed fits most standard crib mattresses, so if you are transitioning from a crib to a toddler bed, you can use the same mattress….making it that much easier! Even the sheets we had for Trent’s crib matched the Thomas bed, but you could make it even more fun by getting some Thomas bed sheets too!

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There is a little shelf/storage area behind the smoke stack, perfect for holding little toys that your child may want to keep nearby…like a bedtime book or Thomas toy.

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I love all the details on the bed, like the three dimensional face and the train wheels on the side. And yet, with all this fun stuff, the bed is pretty compact and doesn’t take up much more space than a crib.

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With the Step2 Thomas the Tank Engine Bed, bedtime can be more fun!

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Here is a little video I made showcasing some of the details, check it out and enjoy!

To learn more and Buy, visit the Step2 product page.

To connect with Step2:

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Thanks for reading and sweet dreams!

 

School’s in for Summer with Netflix

School may be out, but learning doesn’t have to be. With summer in full swing, most kids have lost sight of schoolwork and are enjoying their days off outside of the classroom. For the perfect way to beat the heat and indulge in some screen time, introduce your kids to something new with Netflix – whether it’s a documentary about dinosaurs or the moon, you can keep your little ones’ brains active all summer long!

Even though Trent doesn’t have a summer break and we continue learning all year, we still like that Netflix offers shows that promote learning that are still fun and he enjoys. Some of our favorite shows for him come from PBS and are available on Netflix!

Netflix PBS CollageHere are some other ideas for your little ones to keep up the learning during the summer!

STREAM_TEAM_ALERT__July_2014_-_lynn_thephotographerswife_com_-_Mail 21. The Great Mouse Detective
2. Busytown Mysteries
3. LeapFrog: Math Adventures to the Moon
4. Turtle: The Incredible Journey
5. The Magic School Bus

 

Let’s not forget about the older kids, here’s some ideas for them too!

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1. Lewis & Clark: The Journey Out West
2. Walking with Dinosaurs
3. Secret Yellowstone
4. The Blue Planet
5. When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions

 

Another fun way to continue the learning fun during the summer are with crafts and recipes that you and your little one can make together. For a cool & tasty treat, try making these Strawberry-Yogurt Swirl Popsicles together!

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Don’t those look so refreshing and delicious?!

You can enjoy those while creating these Story Starter Cubes and coming up with fun stories together! Your kids will have fun coming up with their own imaginative stories just like the shows and movies they see!

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This post was written by me as part of my membership in the Netflix Stream Team. All opinions are my own and honest. Thanks for reading!

 

Keep Your Family Hydrated with the NewAir WCD-100W {Review}

Not like you need me to tell you, but it’s hot here in Florida during the summer. Then, multiply that by 10 for being pregnant in Florida during the summer and it’s no surprise that I drink a lot of water. Our entire family does. Brett likes to use those flavor pouches in his water and I like to water down Trent’s juice so that he gets flavor without all the sugar (in between the cups of water and milk that he drinks).

We’ve joked before how nice it would be to have a water dispenser unit in the house, that way we know we are getting clean, delicious water without using the hard water that is prominent in the tap water here in Florida. But those are only used in office buildings for lawyers and doctors, right?

Wrong!

In fact, why shouldn’t a family get to enjoy and benefit from clean, purified water without using a bunch of plastic bottles that are bad for the environment?

We have had the NewAir WCD-100W Water Dispenser in our home for almost a month and we have benefited so much from it.

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A little about NewAir and the WCD-100W:

NewAir specializes in home appliances as well as home comfort products that focus on design and style to fit into any home décor. The NewAir WCD-100W 3 tap water dispenser eliminates all your concerns of H2O shortages. Have the option of hydrating with hot, cold or normal water. This unit has many special features, including its sleek and sophisticated design, which has an allover white base and black trimming.

Designed to work with 2-gallon, 3-gallon or 5-gallon bottles of drinking water, you are sure to never run short again, when it comes to water. This unit does not require a long installation process, simply place the unit on a flat surface away from direct sunlight and plug it in. This is an ideal solution for instant hot beverages in the morning and cold drinks in the afternoon.

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I was glad that we had the perfect little convenient spot for it in between the dining room and kitchen.

One concern I had when first getting this was “How expensive are the bottles of water?”

So Brett headed out to the stores to see where he could get them from. Sure, we could sign up for a service, and that is definitely something convenient we will look into (I’m a big fan of being lazy and having things delivered to my door!), but right away, we wanted to know our options. Lo and behold, the large bottles of drinking water are available at many retailers, including Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Walmart. We chose to get a 5-gallon jug, which costs $12 up front, but $6 is a deposit, which you just keep translating that into your next purchase…essentially making each 5-gallon jug just $6. That’s a pretty decent price for all of that water and much easier than buying and going through a bunch of bottles. I bet we can find it even cheaper if we searched more.

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Setup

Setup was simple. Out of the box, it is recommended that you set the unit upright for 30 minutes, just in case of any unsettling by being shipped on its side. Insert the jug of water on top, plug the unit in and then run the valves according to the instructions to flush out any potential dust in the unit. After just a small wait before the hot and cold temperatures are reached, you are ready to enjoy!

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Also note, I’ve seen some videos out there of people putting their water jugs in the unit and making a big mess. This is because they took off the cap that comes on new jugs. Proper installation will leave no water spills…promise!

 

Speaking of temperatures, this unit has 3 temperature options: normal, cold and hot. Which led me to my second concern…”We have a toddler. Will he burn himself with the hot water?”

The hot water valve has an extra level of safeguarding compared to the normal and cold valves. You have to squeeze the two levers together and then press down at the same time, which while isn’t difficult for an older child or adult, most would say is a little tough for a younger toddler to do on purpose. You can’t just accidentally pour hot water; it is a deliberate movement that I, as a parent, definitely appreciate.

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I also wondered if my toddler, in one of his curious discoveries, would have fun pouring water all over the place by pressing down the other valves. However, so far other than putting some toys in the drip tray while Brett was setting it up, he hasn’t touched the unit. He watches us get our water and that’s it.

In the month we’ve been using it, we are are now on our third 5 gallon jug. We have used the cold water constantly and it tastes delicious. I feel like we drink even more water than before because it tastes good and I don’t want to waste it once I pour it into my cup. Even Trent drinks more water!

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The hot water has so many uses. I use it to make oatmeal, hot cocoa, and tea. Instead of using the microwave, I just pour some hot water into my oatmeal and let it sit for a moment, stir in my other ingredients and then enjoy. I can bet that we will be using much more of the hot water function in the Fall and Winter (mmm hot apple cider).

 

Some other things I like about the NewAir Water Dispenser:

-Drip tray: to catch spills

-Small compartment at the bottom: can be used to store a number of things, such as cups, stirrers, oatmeal, cocoa, tea, sugar, etc.

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-Hands-free pour: I like that I don’t have to hold down the cold or normal valve when dispensing the water into a cup. I can place my cup underneath the valve on the drip tray, push down on the valve, let my cup fill up and then pull up on the valve when done.

-Sophisticated design: It looks nice in our home!

 

The best part is that we are getting good quality water without negatively impacting the environment (or our wallets). The NewAir WCD-100 is a great investment for any home or office and as a mom, it’s definitely a good way to get your entire family to drink more water!

Here’s a short video I made showcasing the NewAir WCD-100W:

 

To Learn more & Buy:
NewAir Site
Amazon
 
Connect:
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Twitter

 

I received this item in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own and honest. Thanks for reading!

 

A Name Announcement & Disney Maternity Photos (Part 2)

I’ve been waiting to finish a craft for the nursery in order to make our little girl’s name announcement. Our nursery is finished for the most part, but we are waiting for the baby shower for the last few things to put in there and then we will share some photos, of course! But, I did finish her name over the crib, and since I’m about 36 weeks along, it’s about time I share her name with you…

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And along with that fun announcement, I also want to share our maternity photos we took while in Disney in May (Trip report will be starting next week!!). We kind of almost forgot about doing them, but were lucky enough to snag an early reservation at Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom in order for us to enter the park early and get some empty park photos in front of the castle.

This session was much different than the ones we took when I was pregnant with Trent. This time, we had a crazy toddler running around and it was super humid already….at 8am!! We quickly took what we could and then ran for the wonderful air-conditioning in the Crystal Palace. I am glad we got some photos, since I’ve been really bad about taking progress photos this time around!

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Brett wasn’t really expecting to get into any of the photos, but a security guard cast member kept insisting she take a photo of all of us. At first, we thought she was just being nice like most cast members, but then we had wondered if she was trying to determine whether Brett was actually part of the family, or if I was paying him to take my professional photos…which isn’t technically allowed. So…here is our one family maternity photo with a bunch of people in the background and Brett wearing a backwards baseball hat. Oh, and Trent looking the other way. I guess I’ll take what I can get. :)

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This next photo wasn’t meant to be artistic or anything, we just said to hell with it and let Trent run while we took some more photos. Notice that he’s looking at us…he wants us to chase him. I think it captures the moment perfectly, crazy toddler running around and mommy ignoring him because she’s tired of running after him.

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You can see our last set of Disney maternity photos (and others) in this post, and the trip report from that trip in this post.

You might also like: Tips for Going to Disney World While Pregnant

Just 4 weeks left!

 

Breakfast Recipe Ideas from Hormel

It’s Monday morning and you’re so tired, all you can throw together for breakfast is a bowl of cereal. While I myself am obsessed with cereal, maybe you want to try something a little different for yourself or your family. Here are two breakfast recipe ideas from Hormel: one that’s quick (perfect for weekdays) and one that’ll take a little longer (perfect for weekends). Enjoy!

 

Ham and Egg Heart Toast

Ham and Egg Heart Toasts

Serving Size: 2
Total Time: Under 15 minutes
Preparation Time: Under 15 minutes
Preparation Method: Stove-Top
Level of Difficulty: Beginner
 
Ingredients
2 teaspoons butter, divided
6 slices HORMEL® NATURAL CHOICE® Honey Ham
2 large eggs
4 slices bread, toasted and buttered

 

In medium skillet, melt 1 teaspoon butter over medium heat. Add ham; cook 2 to

3 minutes or until ham is warmed. Remove from skillet. Cover; keep warm.

In same skillet, melt remaining 1 teaspoon butter over medium heat. Carefully

crack eggs into pan. Cook 3 minutes or until whites are set or cooked as desired.

Cut heart shapes from 2 slices toast. Place 3 ham slices on remaining 2 slices toast. Top with eggs. Cover with heart cut-out toast slices.

 

 

Lemon Berry Tacos

Lemon Berry Tacos 

Serving Size: 8
Total Time: More than 1 hour
Preparation Time: 1 Hour
Preparation Method: Grill
Level of Difficulty: Intermediate

 

Ingredients 
2 large eggs
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1/3 cup butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup whipping cream
8 CHI-CHI’S® Soft Taco Size Flour Tortillas
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups mixed berries (such as raspberries, sliced strawberries and blueberries)
Powdered sugar

 

To make lemon curd cream, in medium bowl, whisk together eggs, lemon juice and 1/3 cup granulated sugar. Place bowl over saucepan of simmering water. Add cubed butter to bowl, a little at a time and stirring between additions, until incorporated. Stir 10 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat. Transfer to cold bowl. Refrigerate 2 to 3 hours or until completely cold.

In small bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks form. Fold cream into curd mixture.

To make tacos, grease grill grate. Prepare grill for medium heat. Brush tortillas

with melted butter; sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Grill 2 minutes on each side or until grill marks appear. Carefully fold tortillas in half while still warm. Let stand until cool.

Fill tortillas with berries and lemon curd cream. Dust with powdered sugar.

 

Be sure to follow Hormel on Facebook to get new recipe ideas!

 

This post was part of my involvement in the Hormel Family Blogger Program. Thanks for reading!