Tag: Making a difference

Taking the Mess and Stress Out of Mealtime

Family meal times are great moments to spend some quality time together but if your home is anything like mine, then it can be hectic and really messy! Sometimes food lands on the floor or better yet the whole plate does.

Well Lindsay Laurain (ezpz’s founder) had the same issue in her home but with a family much bigger than mine with three boys under the age of four. So they decided to invent a solution – the ezpz Happy Mat.

So when I was introduced to the Happy Mat by ezpz, I was super excited to try it out! The Happy Mat is an all-in-one placement + plate that captures kids’ messes. It suctions directly to the table, making it nearly impossible for tiny hands to tip over. It is designed for infants and toddlers (9 months+) with a variety of different colors (blue, coral, gray & lime) and styles available (happy mat, happy bowl, and mini mat).

My daughter Nikki picked the lime happy mat and I love it as you can never miss it!

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We have been using the happy mat for about two weeks now and we simply love it! It is so easy to use, clean and store. The happy mat is 100% silicone; dishwasher safe; BPA free; PVC free; Phthalate free; hypo-allergenic; and does not harbor bacteria. Sounds great, doesn’t it?!

But it gets better! The happy mat promotes self-feeding and it helps children develop their fine motor skills. It also helps children with special needs such as autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and low vision. I think this is my favourite part of ezpz and how they are making a difference in the lives of families. Lindsey has dedicated resources to make proper eating techniques and awareness of appropriate developmental milestones a focus of the company. She has even hired, Dawn Winkelmann, M.S., CCC-SLP, as the Special Needs Program Coordinator and Feeding Specialist. Therefore, ezpz’s products are tested and approved by Ms. Winkelmann and other therapists to ensure that neurotypical children as well as kids with special needs, can use their products. To learn more about how they are making a difference and to read some beautiful testimonials, please click here.

Nikki and I also love how creative we can be with the happy mat. We can position the food in the three compartments and even on the mat to create fun designs. I find these fun designs help make mealtime fun for everyone. You don’t need to be an artist to create them and I am sure your little one won’t notice if it doesn’t look like a masterpiece. Using the happy mat has made mealtime more enjoyable and less messy. Nikki also enjoys her meals more as she loves the three compartments on the plate and the ability to place food on the mat. The company motto is “take the mess and stress out of mealtime” and that is exactly what this product does!

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Now if you have not yet connected on why this business name, let me help you out. Lindsay wanted to make life and mealtimes easier for parents, so a little more “ezpz”. Love it in every way!

Nikki and I give the Happy Mat 5 happy smiles out of 5. The only downfall for us, is that we didn’t get this product sooner! 😉 We highly recommend this product to any family and this would make an excellent baby shower or even first birthday gift!

To purchase a happy mat, please click here. If you are located in Canada, you may visit http://hipmommies.ca/quality-products-for-health-and-baby/ezpz or http://www.snugglebugz.ca/happy-mats.html, just to name a couple.

Make sure to follow ezpz on social media as I am expecting much more from them! Stay tuned for ezpz Pets products that are coming soon – exciting!

Website: http://www.ezpzfun.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ezpzfun
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ezpzfun
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/ezpzfun/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ezpzfun/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyrHrN-7yp6AtkcO1JxwO-w

Until next time…..Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga
#MelandNikkiReview
#ezpzfun

Lily’s Legacy At Work

Many of you may recall my recent blog on the loss of our beloved cat, Lily. If not, please feel free to read this heart touching story by clicking here.

Part of our story was to take our tragic loss and turn it into something positive, hence the start of Lily’s Legacy. Our goal was to raise money to help other animals that need a second chance in life. Lily got her second chance and now it was our turn to pay it forward. The charity that we picked that we know Lily would have loved is called, Companion Animal Rescue Effort (C.A.R.E.) in Mississauga.

C.A.R.E. is devoted to the rescue of stray, abandoned, injured, orphaned cats and dogs, with special emphasis on feral cats. They are volunteer-run, and are dependent on public donations to fund programs. They do not have a shelter facility but run a network of foster homes.

Rescued animals are immediately brought to veterinarians where they are checked and treated for internal and external parasites, treated for any injuries and/or illnesses, vaccinated and spayed or neutered. Cats are tested for Feline Leukemia and F.I.V.; and dogs are tested for Heartworm and put on preventive programs.
We were thrilled to have raised $835 in support of this great organization and our campaign will remain open until April 1st as this would have been Lily’s 13th birthday. Therefore, there is still time to contribute to this campaign and make a difference.
When we make donations we always wonder what difference or impact it has made and I am thrilled to see the donations at work already through Lily’s Legacy. Here is the story of Kali and her kittens.
Kali had two kittens outside in the cold weather and she was brought into a Sales Office in Caledon. There were a couple of wonderful women that worked there who were feeding the strays that came their way and they reached out to any resources that they felt could help them.
By the time C.A.R.E. became involved, one of Kali’s kittens, Kristy, had been picked up and taken into the care of another rescue around Christmas time (and was adopted almost immediately!).
Anna, one of the wonderful ladies, was having difficulty finding rescues who could afford to take in Kali without her being vetted already (spaying, vaccinations, etc.); and unfortunately C.A.R.E. was in the same boat, until Lily’s Legacy.
Anna was also experiencing difficulty catching Kali and her other kitten, Kennedy. But that all changed shortly after Anna found out that C.A.R.E. was now able to afford vetting and make arrangements with Dr. Mann at the Animal Hospital Port Credit (who was also Lily’s amazing vet) to take Kali and Kennedy once they were caught.
Kali and Kennedy have now visited Dr. Mann and are staying with Anna until C.A.R.E. can find them a forever home.
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Due to the generous donations to Lily’s Legacy this mother and her kitten can now have a second chance at a forever home. They received the proper vet care and are now living in a foster home until that special family adopts them. We are so touched to hear the impact the donation dollars have already done and we look forward in hearing more success stories!
We received a little note from C.A.R.E. stating the following: “On behalf of Anna, Kali, Kennedy, and everyone at C.A.R.E., thank you very much for sharing Lily’s light in an otherwise dark time in your lives.”
We are truly touched that we can keep Lily’s memory alive by helping this beautiful family and we are truly thankful to everyone who donated to this special cause! This would not have been possible without all of you! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
– Momma Braga

A Tearful Good-Bye

Our pets are more than just pets as they become a member of the family. The love and care we feel for them is so very special. They are the ones who are always loyal and by our side when we need them the most. This is how we felt about our cat Lily.

We adopted Lily in 2009 when she was six years of age and she was the sweetest cat you could ever meet. There is a saying that our animals are the ones who pick us and this rings true for us as she is the one who picked us. So when we were faced with her good-bye, it left us heart broken.

Here is our story of how we lost our beloved furbaby, Lily.

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*Warning – specific details have been expressed in this piece that can be emotionally hard to read.

The Beginning

In 2009, we went to visit a facility of adoptions to see if we can find a cat to adopt. When we got there we went into a room with all the available cats that were up for adoption. We went around to see each one of them to see who would be a fit in our family of two (at the time). When my husband arrived at Lily, Lily gave him four kisses. As soon as she did that, my husband turned to me and said, “Ok, she is ours. We are taking her today.” And that is exactly what we did that day. We adopted our new family member, Lily.

Lily came with a past of abuse, neglect and abandonment. The transition to get her comfortable with us took some time and we helped her along the way to trust us. After nine months, she was so comfortable that she slept on my husband’s lap for the very first time and she just got more loving from there.

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When we had our daughter, Nikki, in 2014, Lily became even more loving and friendly. It was amazing to see the bond that Lily created with Nikki and as time passed, the bond grow stronger between them. Nikki ended up having a tag along friend as everywhere she went Lily was close behind.

The Dramatic Change & Diagnosis

Our whole world then shifted with the sudden health changes to Lily. One day we noticed that she was struggling to do her business in the litter box and every time she tried, nothing would come out. Then when she would eat, she would throw up. We knew something was really wrong.

That same day (January 2, 2016), my husband took Lily to the animal emergency hospital to see what was wrong with her. After a five hour wait, it was discovered that Lily had a 3cm cancerous tumor in her intestines and this was causing a backup of her stool. This is why every time she ate she would throw up. Receiving this news was devastating to us as we never expected this to show up so quickly. Lily never showed signs of discomfort until now.

The vet provided us with two options. Option 1 was to do surgery which had high risks attached to it, such as not surviving the surgery and the tumor would return and spread. Option 2 was to put her down.

This was a lot for us to digest in one day so my husband brought her home for us to discuss it further. In the meantime, Lily was given two vaccines that would help with her pain and would prevent her from throwing up. After a lengthy discussion we decided to make an appointment for Lily to see her vet and get a second opinion. This was such a big decision to make that I wanted to make sure we did everything to ensure that putting her down was the right decision. We were fortunate to book an appointment right away which fell on a Monday (January 4, 2016). By this time, we could really see that Lily was getting worse. Her eyes were filled with pain, she lost another 10 ounces since Saturday and threw up even though she had a vaccine to prevent this from happening.

The Final Decision

My husband went in with Lily to see her amazing and kind vet. Once the vet reviewed the x-rays from the hospital and did a full check up on Lily. She turned to my husband and said with tears in her eyes, “There is no saving her.” Lily was getting frail, her bones were weak and she was starving herself to death. The vet further stated that if we decided not to put her down she would only survive another 3 weeks and she could just drop any day in our home. We just couldn’t do that to her. Our vet has known us since we got Lily and she told my husband that she knows that we gave her the very best life full of love and that is all Lily wanted. She further stated that cats are very good at hiding their feelings of pain so there was no way to tell until now. What was happening to Lily was in the inside and it wasn’t on the surface for us to see. With great pain, we decided the best thing for her was to put her down.

Tearful Goodbye

Since Lily was a rescued and abused cat, who had been abandoned a couple of times in her life. I told my husband it would be comforting for him to stay with her to the end. I told him that I would hate for Lily to think that we abandoned her. I wanted her to know that we never left her and loved her so much until the very end. My husband found the strength to stay with her as I knew I just couldn’t (just writing this has me in complete tears).

The vet prepared the needle that would put Lily to rest. She gave Lily the needle and to everyone’s astonishment, Lily got up and walked towards my husband. The vet has only seen this happen one other time in her 26 years as a vet. So she turned to my husband and said, “You have to tell her that it is time to go. She doesn’t want to leave you so you have to tell her that it’s ok.” As painful as it was for my loving husband, he turned to Lily and said, “Sweet Lily, it’s time for you to go. We don’t want you to suffer and it’s ok to go.” The vet said that Lily looked at peace now and she gave her the second needle while in my husband’s arms. Lily looked up at him and gave him those same four kisses that she gave him when we first adopted her. After the last lick, she peacefully went. And that was the end of her suffering and the start of her legacy.

The Grieving

It has been a difficult process and we went through the grieving cycle such as denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. What has helped us the most, has been the amazing love and support from our family and friends. Just talking (writing) and crying about our loss has been very therapeutic to us as well.

Luckily, our daughter is really young to comprehend or feel the loss. But we did talk to her about it in the simplest terms. The day we said good-bye to Lily, we told our daughter that Lily was going bye-bye to heaven and our daughter went to Lily and said “bye-bye” and gave her kisses. As I watch her do this, all I could do was weep but I knew it was important for our daughter to say good-bye.

In honour of Lily’s memory we had the very first blanket our daughter was wrapped in from the hospital (which became Lily’s favourite blanket) and a cat sleeper transformed into a keepsake teddy bear by Plush Memories. This was a beautiful way to celebrate her life and have something to hug when we missed her. It has been a great tool in helping us grieve.

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Lily’s Legacy

Another way we coped with the grief was by creating a fundraising campaign that we called, Lily’s Legacy. Money raised by our campaign was going to help other animals like Lily who need that second chance at a forever home. We picked a local organization and I am proud to say that we raised $835 in memory of Lily. The money raised has already made a difference in the lives of our furry friends.

We didn’t want to remember the abrupt ending but we wanted this campaign to continue the memory of Lily’s life and sweetness by helping others, the way she did for us.

The Paw Print Left

The loss of a beloved furry family member is hard on everyone and Lily’s loss will be felt for a long time. But she has left a forever lasting paw print on our hearts. To this day our daughter screams with excitement when she sees a picture of Lily. When we say that Lily has gone to heaven, she still responds with “bye-bye” and blows a kiss into the air. Because of Lily, our daughter will always have a special place for animals in her heart.

Lily was such a friendly and sweet cat who always greeted our guests and I know they have all felt her loss as well. Lily has definitely left her mark with many here in this world and we are so lucky to have had her.

Thank You Lily

As I write this piece, my heart is filled with array of emotions and now as I come to the end, it is filled with so much thankfulness. I am thankful for having the opportunity to have had Lily in our lives. Thankful for the unconditional love that she provided and taught us. Thankful for her loyal nature to our family. Thankful for the pure joy that she gave us. Thankful for the love, patience and kindness she always showcased to our daughter. Thankful for trusting us to hold her paw until the very end.

We could not have asked for a better and sweet family member. To that we say, thank you Lily! Rest in peace our sweet girl and know that we will always love you.

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– Momma Braga

 

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