Mommy Review Monday: ezpz Happy Mat – One-piece silicone placemat + plate

DISCLOSURE: Due to the recent iPhone update my i’s are now malfunctioning. I️ am NOT going back through to fix. I’m too frustrated. Sorry folks.

It’s borderline Migraine Monday instead of Mommy Review Monday so this will be a sort one today so I can get off to bed. I should apologize to those who get actual migraines because I️ realize my headache isn’t really a migraine since I️ can manage to look at the screen.

I’ll thank the black beans all over the floor and the screaming toddlers for the tension headache. With that said, I’ll move onto our review of the day, the ezpz Happy Mat, without which there would’ve been many more beans on the floor.

Pros:

  • Cost. $24.99 may seem like a lot but if you use I️t every meal, I️t pays for itself pretty quickly.
  • Hardiness. It’s made of silicone so you know it’s tough. And unlike your friends’ fake boobs, these don’t have to be hand-washed. You can stick them in the lower rack of your dishwasher time after time.
  • Dividers. Since so many kids are funny about not mixing foods, this is a great feature.
  • Protection. The full placemats give your table the armor it needs against banging silverware and/or sippy cups.
  • Stay-put-ness. I️ realize that’s a made up word but you get the point. No pates thrown across the room. As I️ said earlier, had we served black beans on a regular plate, they would’ve been everywhere. This plate-mat stayed in place throughout Clara’s mid-dinner temper tantrum.

Cons

  • Fit on High Chair Trays. They don’t fit on high chair trays. I️ know that’s not really what they’re made for so I️ really have a hard time declaring that a con but I️ do want to make sure no one assumes they’ll work that way. They do make a smaller version, the Mini Mat but it still may or may not work on your high chair tray.
  • Only Stick on Hard, Level Surfaces. Again, this seems common sense but they don’t stick or suction themselves down to fabric tablecloths or very unlevel surface. They’re still nice to use to protect your nice fabric tablecloth but there is the chance they could still move. We used a nylon table cloth at Halloween though and it still worked pretty well.

All together, these Happy Mats are what the brand name explains, ezpz. They’re a great gift idea, especially paired with these bibs. I’d buy another. In fact, I may buy another set for when one set is dirty. I’m not sure if that’s lazy or smart.

Happy Monday!!!

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Mommy Review Monday: Munchkin Snack Catcher

I would give the Munchkin Snack Catcher a solid 7. 

Here’s what I like:

  • They come in a two-pack with two different colors. Great for twins. Kate uses pink and Clara orange. In reality, they get mixed up quite a bit, despite our efforts. 
  • They have easy to grip handles. 
  • The bottom is non-slip, rubbery material, which helps keep in place a little better. 
  • Priced right at $6.99 on Amazon
  • They’re dishwasher safe and easy to clean. 
  • The lid is easy enough to get off for adults but hard enough for the babies not to open it. 
  • They’re pretty good for travel snacks. Much more user friendly than trying to give a toddler a ziplock bag or tupperware container to eat out of. 
  • They keep the girls happy. Yeah, yeah, I know. Bad habit giving them food to occupy them. I promise we only do this at snack time…I don’t want them to fall into my bad habits of snacking whenever I’m bored!

Here’s what I don’t care for:

  • The lid is fairly difficult to get on. 
  • It doesn’t contain food as well as I would like. If you turn your back and a baby shakes it, you’ll have snacks everywhere. When you multiple that by two, you can get easily have a school of goldfish all over your floor or vehicle. And I can promise you that my kids are not apposed to the 5-minute rule so we have a lot of eating off the floor at our house. 

All and all, it’s a pretty great product. Not sure if there’s another brand that is better. It if you’ve tried one out that you like, let me know. 

Disclaimer: I’m NOT being compensated for my review of this product. I chose to purchase this, based on our needs. 

Mommy Review Monday: Happy Healthy Parent Waterproof Silicone Bib

With my first two kids, I used Bumkins bibs and they’re great but I decided to try some the Happy Healthy Parent waterproof silicone bibs for the twins. 

Here’s what I like about them:

  • They come in a 2- pack with free shipping through Amazon Prime. 
  • The colors are cute: Clara’s is purple and Kate’s is pink. The other colors offered are red/blue and green/turquoise. 
  • They are thin enough to be very flexible and appear to be comfortable for the girls. 
  • They have adjustable closure that stays on, even when they yank on it. 
  • Cleaning them is a breeze. We actually stick ours in the dishwasher. The manufacturer’s description doesn’t say they are dishwasher safe but they’ve held up to being washed in the top rack of ours almost every night for the past few months without any signs of wear. 
  • They don’t take up much space if you travel with them. 
  • Catching stray food is made easier with the silicone pocket.
  • The price seems reasonable, at $18.97, since they’re so easy to use over and over again. 
  • They are free of BPA, Phthalate (not sure what this is but it was listed in the product description so it must be bad), Latex, and Lead. 
  • Happy Healthy baby is so confident in these that they offer a lifetime money back guarantee. I like that in a company. 

What could be improved:

  • The pink has stained a bit around the neck. I’m not worried about it enough to exchange them for that. In their defense, we eat a lot of carrots and sweet potatoes (and Kate is a messy eater) so it isn’t surprising that this would happen. Plus, we sometimes may not get them washed as fast as others may. 
  • This is really picky but if they could make one more adjustment to make them any smaller it would be nice. Clara is petite so she could’ve gone a notch smaller at first but it really wasn’t a huge issue and they’re perfect now. 

Garen and I both really like these. Enough that I’m about to buy a second set, just for the convenience of having some ready in the diaper bag. I’ll still buy the pink and purple, even if the pink stains a bit. 

Making Baby Food- Part 2: What and How I Made Baby Food 

After our trip to the grocery store (see my previous post, Part 1: The Why and Preparation), I got started.    Honestly, it hasn’t been that bad. I never expected to be the mom that makes homemade baby food but, surprisingly, I actually enjoyed it. I went into it without recipes but more of a general idea of what I thought might go well together. Here’s what I made:

  • Apple cinnamon sweet potatoes
  • Corn and green peas
  • Corn and bananas 
  • Peas and lentils
  • Carrots and lentils
  • Green beans and lentils
  • Spinach and lentils
  • Bananas, blueberries, and strawberries
  • Blueberries and strawberries 
  • Green peas and wild rice. 
  • Blueberries 
  • Strawberries 
  • Bananas 
  • Pumpkin carrot
  • Pumpkin bananas 

Here was my process:

  1. Get food processor ready
  2. Have hubby unpackage all of the new ice trays and start hot soapy water to wash trays before use
  3. Cook steamer pack of corn as directed
  4. In the meantime, start cooking lentils as directed   
  5. Once corn is finished, start steamer pack of peas. 
  6. Pour finished corn into the processor 
  7. Wash a few trays and put on drying mats to dry while peas cook
  8. Once peas are finished, add them to the processor and start mixing  
  9. Add water (some people add formula or Breastmilk but I didn’t) to get to the consistency you want. You can always add more water when you are ready to feed your little one. 
  10. Spoon or pour the processed food into the ice trays. They’re easier to get out once frozen if your food stays inside the tray rather than overlapping. 
  11. Smooth the food out as much as possible   
  12. Put on a level surface in the freezer. Top with Saran Wrap if you’re going to be stacking any in top of these so they don’t freeze together (like mine did the first round).  
  13. Repeat this process with other combinations or single foods.     
  14. Once the trays are frozen, put them into labeled freezer bags and store in the freezer. 

Note: Here are a few variations from the above process that included other preparation:

  • Finish the lentils and use with combos, as you wish
  • Cook the frozen spinach on the stove rather than the microwave 
  • Cut the apples up and roast them in the oven with cinnamon 
  • Peel and cook the sweet potatoes 
  • Open the cans of pumpkin 
  • I had to do two rounds of the freezing process because it required more than 18 trays. I put the mixtures into bowls and stored in the fridge until the first round was finished.   

This made 465 cubes of food, using the $49.99 of food I listed in my previous post, Part 1: The Why and Preparation. The girls usually eat 2 cubes for lunch and 3 for dinner. Soon they will be eating one with oatmeal or cereal for breakfast too, which is 6 each and 12 cubes used a day for both.  At that rate, what we made should last us about 38 days. My estimate is that we would go through 7-8 jars of store bought food a day, so that means I would spend between $266-$304 in 38 days if each jar costs $1.00. (Try not to be jealous of my killer math skills). 

I would say that’s a pretty good savings. Now we’ll see how Clara and Kate like them. So far, so good. 

Let me know if you’ve made baby food and what combos you’ve made. 

Making Baby Food- Part 1: The Background and Preparation 

I’ve never tried making my own baby food. Honestly, I’ve been intimidated by it. The thought of cooking, blending, and storing it all seemed like a daunting task. Plus, we are on the go a lot so jarred baby food has been convenient to grab and go. 

But after about almost two months of the girls eating baby food now, I’m realizing how expensive it is to feed two. We have been ordering their food from Amazon because it’s quick, easy, and cheaper than in the store. But it’s still a little over $1 a four (4) oz jar. That’s for Earth’s Best Organic so I do realize I could get it cheaper. I’m not really an organic produce person but I tried different types of baby food when Will was a baby and liked Earth’s Best. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. 

Anywho….Saturday about 4 different recommended pins came up on my Pinterest wall about making your own baby food. I took that as a sign that I should try it out. 

Like I do before any project, I read a few blogs about it. Thanks to Gina of Fitnessista and Wholesome BabyFood for great posts on making your own. I realized that I would have a lot more flavor options and could possibly save money if I made my own. And, with my food processor and two freezers, I figured it might not be that bad. 

Challenge accepted. 

I made a list, checked it twice. Garen and I headed to the store to buy everything. My goal was to make a month’s worth. We ended up coming home with $49.99 in ingredients. Here’s what I bought at Kroger: 

  • 14 bananas 
  • 3 cans pumpkin 
  • 5 organic apples
  • 2 large sweet potatoes 
  • Frozen blueberries, 3 lbs
  • Frozen green beans, 4 steamer packs
  • Frozen strawberries, 3 lbs
  • Frozen green peas, 4 steamer packs
  • Frozen corn, 4 steamer packs
  • Frozen carrots, 4 steamer packs
  • Frozen spinach, 1 lb
  • Green lentils, 4 cups

We also stopped at the Dollar Tree, where I bought 18 ice cube trays and a 10 pack of gallon zip-top freezer bags, which cost me a little over $10 with tax. 

  We got home and unloaded the goodies and I went to work, not knowing exactly what to expect or how much baby food all of this might make. 

See my next post (Part 2: What and How I Made Baby Food) for how the adventure went.