Thomas and Friends is at it again!

All aboard! Thomas the Train has been around since I was a child.  It was Thomas and Barney that captured the hearts of children everywhere and was a must watch daily.

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“Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! The Series” made its debut on September 17th.  This all-new redeveloped series comes with exciting new features, from new locations and a gender-inclusive Steam Team, to new formatting seeing Thomas breaking the fourth wall, speaking directly to the audience and inviting kids along for the adventures!

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Throughout the years, Thomas has been able to sustain its growth and stay relevant so why would anything change? In a new age where everything is out in the open and children are learning earlier in life about their part in their future, Thomas will be there to guide them along.

The series is also about to get serious about female empowerment as they welcome a new engine all the way from Kenya named Nia, who is the absolute equal of Thomas the Tank Engine and the other male engines populating the Island of Sodor.

She’s independent, a great problem solver and fast learner, who is also a real optimist with a great sense of fun.

As a parent, Actress Olivia Wilde is “on board” with everything Thomas is standing for along with the United Nations sustainable development goals that have been worked into the show.

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Additionally, along with the revamped series comes new music and an all new theme song that little engineers are sure to love. The new music is now streaming on Spotify.

My 6 year old son has been what I call “past the Thomas phase” for a couple of years now and onto the stuff his older brother is doing. Verbatim he told me “Thomas is for babies” when I asked if he’d like to check out the new Thomas the Train series and movie.

I explained to him that it changed a bit and that he should give it a try. Not only does it have some cool stories but it’s on Nick Jr. now! He agreed to check it out and that was that.

There are many new catchy songs which is much different than the old format.  This certainly helps to keep kids engaged and wanting to know what happens next!

He immediately fell into his Thomas the Train obsession and wanted to pull out his Thomas the Train toys to play with  where collected many over the years and they’ve collected dust but I’m happy to pull them back out if they’ll get some 6 year old lovin’!

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There are some awesome NEW Thomas toys out as well that play more into the new themes like this Jungle Set my son cannot get enough of. His laugh says it all..

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Fortnite can wait! Thomas is ON!

All aboard the Thomas Express!

Can you spot Thomas in the United Nations building?

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2018 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited Platinum and Back to School

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Last week was back to school.  It’s always a mix of emotions for parents and kids alike, anxious and happy all at the same time.

My kids and I wanted to have a last hoorah before going back to school and we had the 2018 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited Platinum to go along for the journey.

The zoo was calling our names since we hadn’t been all year and the is one only a little over an hour at that we’ve never visited. Check out my coverage on it here.

The hybrid is A-Mazing on gas mileage. Half electric and half gasoline engine this darn thing charges itself! Yes, you read right.. no plugging it it although I believe you technically could. Any time you go below 30mph, the engine switches to electric and doesn’t suck up any gas.

I had a full tank of gas when I started my week, and a full week later after driving to and from work, the zoo which is an hour+ away, and to and from school pick ups and drop offs, I still had just under a quarter tank of gas left.

Not to mention $10 put it back up over a half tank!

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Not only is the hybrid awesome on gas, it boasts a fabulous interior if you can find the Limited Platinum edition. This photo has no filter, just amazing interior lighting and interior leather seats. My kids really enjoyed how big and open the it was with the captain’s chairs.  The center chairs move forward, backwards, recline and collapse forward foot extra space needs.

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The rear row of seats fit 3 and also recline and collapse. Look at all this space.  Its almost like a minivan fell without the “mom-van” stigma.

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The limited edition comes with these rims and open country tires.  The AWD feature makes for a smooth ride regardless of the weather.

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Safety is a big concern for everyone but especially top of mind for parents.  All new vehicles now must have a backup camera but I’ve seen some that work poorly at night.

Night time is probably one of the most important times to have clear vision on your back out camera, especially in a larger SUV. Kids are always in and out, and even when you think they’re in, they’re back out. The light on the back of this camera comes in handy for illuminating the space behind you like in a dark parking lot.

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Check out that trunk! HUGE space with the 3rd row folded down.  You can fold just one seat, or just the 2 on the right if you want.  Someone can still fit comfortably back there with one side down.

The Highlander fit easily into my daily routine. My mornings start of with an early bootcamp classes and the leather cooled seats help to not feel so sweaty! I car pool with a friend and she absolutely loved that little fact haha!

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I’m already missing the huge spacious inside of the Toyota Highlander and especially the heated and cooled leather seats.

The only downside (aside from my oldest son getting car sick from the new car smell) is the lack of ability of the push to talk navigation feature.  I thought by now they’d figure it out for all vehicles.  My 2016 vehicle does the same thing, it rarely understands me and I just get frustrated.  Maybe it’s just me?

If you want a laugh, check out my fighting with the navigation push to talk system LOL! Even with the “teach your voice” feature I still couldn’t get it to work for me properly.

I hope everyone had a great first week back to school! My kids certainly did but they’re already counting down the days until Summer break and so am I!

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Lehigh Valley Zoo Fun

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If you’re looking for some local fun, the Lehigh Valley zoo is just an hour away from central New Jersey.

It’s a great “staycation” idea, fun for all ages which is why we visited this Labor Day weekend before school starts up. Myself, my two children and my mother enjoyed the day checking out the cool animal exhibits in this on the smaller size zoo.

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A perfect size for anyone who might not like zoo’s due to all of the walking involved. We’ve been to very large zoo’s and the smallest zoo’s. This one is right in the middle. This makes for extra special zoo talk activities scheduled throughout the zoo, check the online schedule before your visit to make sure to hit them all!

They have special events such as Brew at the zoo & Grandparents Day coming up as well as the Fall family fun walk.

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The LVZ features some large zoo amenities though like Giraffe feedings where you get to be up close and personal with adorable humungous giraffes (they even had a black giraffe when we went!) It’s very affordable at just $4 for up to 3 people. You get 3 pieces of lettuce to feed them and can get some cool pictures!

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Not only can you feed Giraffes, but you can buy zoo encounters if you’re in a group. It’s a but more pricey, in the triple digits, but check out their website for more details (I know you can hang out with a sloth!)

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Their hours are limited from 10am-4pm, but it is more than enough time to see everything and take your time. They change for the season in November to 11-3pm and back to 10-4pm in April. Parking is free and there is alot of parking space close to the entrance so no need to worry.  One thing I must note is that the road to get to the zoo is small, winding and and never-ending. I almost thought we passed it or something because we saw the zoo sign and then kept driving and driving. Eventually we caught a glimpse of the entrance in the distance, but really this is what it looks like from the end of the winding road:

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Can you spot it?

We had a blast exploring the exhibits starting with the adorable penguins.  They were very active and were swimming and walking, making calling noises and all. I even caught this guy mimicking the poster sign haha!

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Next up we went over to look at the Mexican gray wolves.  Thet came so close it was amazing! They must have been playing a game with eachother because they kept going up and down the hill one after another back and forth. They apparently now have live feedings though according to signs and the carcus you can see inside of their exhibit so if you don’t want your children to witness this, go ahead to check its clear.

My little wolves were amazed at how close they were and enjoyed seeing how much they resemble our dogs at home.

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They have a small but cool amphibian section with the cutest little crocodile.

Arachnophobia Warning!

So.. funny story… we were at the playground area and there is a restroom right near it, so I figured I should go since I didn’t know where the next one was and didn’t want to chance it. The lady in the stall next to me asked if I could hand her toilet paper, so I did and then said I would give her a whole roll for that stall since there was one behind and above me. When I went to look again to get it, I realized I was SURROUNDED by Daddy long legs spiders! Oh my God, talk about horrified! Everywhere I turned I noticed they were there and I hadn’t noticed before. It felt like something from a horror film! Literally 25+ in my bathroom stall alone! 😲😱

I told my mom when I got out and she laughed at me, she noted we are in Pennsylvania, in a wooded area, and it’s humid out what did I expect.  I think she was under estimating the amount if spiders in that bathroom though since she didn’t see it herself!

Word to the wise, check for spiders in the stall before popping a squat!

But the playground was fun!

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Next we stopped for some dip n dots which were so refreshing on the hot and muggy day and checked on the patio deck for ring tailed lemurs in the trees.  We didn’t find any😥

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This was such a nice bonding experience for my mom and my sons though. The atmosphere is so nice as well, it really felt perfect.

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The snowy owl had just been added to the zoo in April of this year.  How adorable is this guy!?!

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The are many other exhibits, including the adorable otters, but i don’t want to ruin it all for you.  I highly recommend you visit the Lehigh Valley Zoo if you’re looking for a great family day out that won’t break the bank and can be just a few hours long if you want.

For tickets in advance visit Lehigh Valley Zoo online or purchase at the gate any day or time.

They offer birthday party packages too!

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National Baby Safety Month

September is National Baby Safety Month. Baby safety is always of importance all year, but having a month where it can be broadcasted to the World and put at the top of everyones mind is needed. I have compiled a list of items that will help to keep your precious baby safe. Check them out below!
Eco-friendly toy line

Shake, rattle and explore with the My First Green Toys™ Twist Teether. Tiny hands can easily grasp this lightweight, three dimensional, ultra-safe teether. Each uniquely shaped and colorful charm has a distinct texture to stimulate visual and tactile senses. Color combinations may vary. Ages 0 and up, $12.99

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Snuza Hero
Baby wearable abdominal movement monitor
The Snuza Hero is a portable and easy-to-use movement monitor, which clips onto baby’s diaper to ensure that normal movement is maintained. Hero detects even the slightest abdominal movement and will alert you if your baby’s movements are very weak or fall to less than 8 movements per minute. If no abdominal movement is detected for a period of 15 seconds, Hero will gently vibrate. Often this vibration is enough to rouse the baby, and Hero will revert to monitoring mode. After three vibration/rouse incidents, the Rouse Warning will alert you when you’re baby’s abdominal movements have stopped for 15 seconds on three occasions. If no further movement is detected for another 5 seconds, an alarm will sound to alert you. MSRP: $109.99
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toddlermonitor
Worry less & sleep more
Parents, get ready for a good night’s sleep! With the new toddlermonitor™, parents will be alerted if their toddler is on the move. This is how it works: Hang the toddlermonitor™ on the inside or outside of your toddler’s bedroom door and SET it from your smartphone using the app. If your toddler tries to leave their bedroom, the toddlermonitor™ will sense the motion of the door and send a Bluetooth signal to your smartphone. The toddlermonitor™ also allows you to tailor alerts including vibration, volume, and sounds, so even the deepest sleeper will wake up. The toddlermonitor™ is a smart monitor that is fully controlled by the free toddlermonitor™ app. By using the latest Bluetooth technology, it pairs to Androids, IOS phones, or tablets in seconds.

*For a limited time only, get 10% off your purchase when you use promo code “MYHERO”

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Ryko Monique Diaper Bag
Durable Yet Fashionable for the Parent (Mom or Dad) on the Go!

RYCO nursery bags fill a niche in the market, designing, developing and manufacturing nursery bags that are impeccable quality, stylish and incredible value – below the $100 mark! RYCO Nursery Bags are designed and developed in Australia and manufactured using the highest quality materials and craftsmanship and is currently sold in 50 countries around the world. RYCO Nursery Bags are made of durable lightweight materials that offer fashion and are functionally designed with mothers in mind – at a price that families can afford. The Ryko Monique Diaper Bag features a sleek cutting edge design with bold features, including striking gold bar and turn key opening. Easy access main compartment. New internal removable bottle holder and pacifier polyethylene pocket. Large carry handles. Built-in change mat with closed cell foam for extra comfort and handle.

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Baba Sling
Versatile, Fashionable and Easy-To-Use
The Baba Sling is designed by a Mother, with focus on simplicity and flexibility, a Baba Sling will allow you to carry in 5 different positions. It’s easy to put on and take off, comfortable for you and your child and adaptable to yours and baby’s needs. Your little one will stay snug throughout the day as they are cradled softly in the cotton hammock of the sling. Changing positions will assist with healthy development of their hips and spine. Thanks to the ability to swap shoulders and positions you will stay comfortable too. Fully adjustable, one size fits all!  MSRP: $85+.

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Syki Bath Support
Designed for Comfort
With the Syki Baby Bath Support, bath time is filled with bubbles of sweetness! With its European design, which puts an emphasis on comfort, the Syki baby bath support shape is adapted for a newborn baby up to six months old. The unique ergonomic design maintains softly baby’s body and head while allowing free movements of both arms and legs, creating the perfect soothing environment for baby to really enjoy bath time. Featuring a soft and supple hygienic material, which is gentle on baby’s fragile skin and easy to clean with a wet sponge, the bath support also easily drains water through its small holes and dries quickly. For ages birth up to 6 months, Max 17 lbs/28 inches tall. MSRP: $24.99

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