Friday, January 8, 2016

EZPZ Happy Mats {A Product Review}

Hey Ya'll!

I hope you guys had a wonderful holiday season! Ours was amazing....holidays with a 2 year-old are seriously a blast. But also completely exhausting! She was blessed with way too many gifts, so we're having fun playing with and learning about new things. (Look for a post coming soon on my favorite things for an SLP Mommy!)

Today I'm back with a product review of my MOST favorite thing right now for SLPs and Mommies: Happy Mats and Bowls from EZPZ!

I had the privilege of meeting the creator, Lindsey, and Dawn, the SLP, as well as other members of the EZPZ team at the ASHA Convention in Denver this past November. Lindsey explained to me that as a mom of young boys, she was experiencing lots of craziness (and mess) during mealtimes at her house. So she created the Happy Mat and Happy Bowl, made of silicone, where the plate and bowl are literally built in to a placemat. Because they are made of silicone, they don't slide or lift off of the table (unless you pull up under the sides, which isn't easy for the kids to do). As a mom of a 2 year old, this instantly had my attention!

Many of you have seen Halle Jane grow up on my blog and Instagram, but I haven't talked much yet about the fact that literally overnight, I had a problem eater. She went from eating everything and always wanting more, to eating 2 bites and wanting to be done. It was driving me insane. I'm an SLP! I do feeding therapy! This isn't supposed to be an issue with my own child! It wasn't that she was necessarily a picky eater. In fact, we still, to this day, haven't found anything she won't eat. (Including olives, which I find utterly disgusting!) She'll eat anything we ask. She just doesn't want to take the time to stop playing (or talking!) to eat. She'd rather drink all her calories throughout the day. So we cut way back on the milk. Switched to skim milk. (Side note...other than an occasional sip of sweet tea (thanks, Daddy!) she's never had anything to drink other than milk and juice, no soda, etc.) We stopped allowing her to walk around the house with a sippy cup of milk. We got rid of the sippy cups altogether. We constantly offered healthy snack options. Even still, she had very little interest in eating at the table. And I refused to start the bad habit of shoveling a bite of food in her mouth as she ran by pushing a baby stroller. We were still very intentional about making her stay seated with us during mealtimes until we were finished, so she'd learn that mealtimes are for sitting together as a family. We didn't force food down her throat, but we didn't let up on our encouragement for her to eat, either.

And then, after I came back from Denver with a "present" (the happy mat and bowl), eating was suddenly interesting again! She LOVED the "big pink smiley face plate" and loved even more that I introduced some food art into our meals. (It helped that it was holiday time and Pinterest is swarming with cute food ideas for the holidays). Suddenly, I was no longer nagging her to keep eating. I was asking her to finish her happy plate. I was no longer asking her to finish her strawberries and little hot dogs, I was asking her to eat all her Santas and Baby Jesus's! And just like that...our mealtime issues were pretty much solved.

For Christmas, Santa brought the newly introduced Mini Mat (that fits perfectly in most high chairs for your little ones, and is great for taking on the road). As you can see below, Halle Jane, insisted the smaller Mini Mat was for her babies. But Lindsey fixed that problem by sending lots of even smaller Micro Mats....which now means Mom and Dad were booted to the bar, and Halle Jane and her multitude of babies got the table. I'm also using the Micro Mats to introduce new foods (one cherry, one piece of artichoke, etc.) She even asked me to let her try a piece of onion last night...and she ate it without complaining!

So here are my Pro's:

-They are super colorful and fun, so kids love them
-They don't allow cereal bowls to be dumped, plates to be thrown, etc., so the mess is contained
-They are perfectly portioned (bowl is 8oz, Happy Mat is 4oz, 4oz, and 10 oz, Mini Mat is 2oz, 2oz, and  
       4oz and the Snack Mat is 8oz), so you know exactly how much they are eating
-The play mat is great for food (adding toppings to ice cream), small toys (legos), or arts and crafts
       (stringing beads, etc.)
-They're dishwasher safe (although I mostly just rinse with water and dish soap)
-They are easily stackable in my cabinet
-They are BPA and PVC free, so super safe
-They're hypoallergenic
-They don't harbor bacteria
-They are easily transportable (I take the Mini mat everywhere)
-They have worked wonders with my feeding clients as well, who either have no interest in foods, have
       sensory issues, or are really picky eaters
-They are super affordable

In addition to using them at home, I'm also using them at school with my 3 year old self-contained classroom. I'm in the room during breakfast and lunch, and use them for feeding therapy with several clients.

Seriously, friends. They will change your life. Order one. Order more than one. If I've made a believer out of you, use the link below:

Also, BIG NEWS! If you're home tonight, watch my EZPZ friends on SHARK TANK at 8 PM Eastern Time...I can't wait to see Lindsey blow the Sharks' minds with this amazing tool! (And also, if you're planning on ordering, you may want to go ahead today before the show...I'm expecting they'll sell out after the show tonight...the Mini Mats are already currently out of stock, but more are coming in February!)

You can find more about EZPZ on their website by clicking HERE. You can also follow them on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Youtube!

Finally, EZPZ's own SLP has a great blog with tons of great ideas for using the Mats in therapy and at home. You can see it HERE.

Have YOU used an EZPZ mat yet? I'd love to hear what you think!

Happy Friday!