So Many Sippy Cups…

Since we have two mobile babies in the household we have been experimenting with many different sippy cups. The baby bottle is officially old news now that we finally found the perfect cup! The Munchkin Miracle 360 cup! 

All babies have trouble finding the right side to drink from, this cups spout is equally all the way around… 360. No matter what side baby decides to drink from they will successfully get a mouthful of their drink.

Another plus? It’s completely SPILL PROOF! Babies can tip it, throw it or it can easily be stored in a purse/diaper bag with no leaking no whatsoever. 

I would recommend this to any mothers and fathers in search of the perfect sippy cup for their little ones! 

**This is not a sponsored post. I just want to share my sons love for this cup with other parents!**


Not So Helping Hands

Stealing has always been viewed as criminal behavior in adults and lying is considered a deplorable character trait in our society. It is, however, important to remember that this behavior in your kids is a natural, normal part of development. 

Having so many kids in our home very close in age, and with the chaos of the holidays taking their toll, it started to feel like I couldn’t turn around without one of the kids lying, cheating, stealing, or hiding something. When my youngest of repeat offenders was sent to the school office just right before Christmas Break for stealing from a classmate, I admit… it hurt my heart and worried me to death. I doubted my parenting skills profusely. Was she just a bad soul? Did she not develop a moral compass? Maybe her punishment the last time wasn’t severe enough, maybe it was too easy? Maybe  it didn’t fit the crime enough, maybe she just needed more attention. 

At one time or another, all of our kids have been punished for lying or stealing. Why did it bother me so much this time? It was then, I remembered that it does bother me every single time, it is just a passing phase and easy to forget and move on, if the child learned and didn’t continue to repeat the behavior. 

When your infant becomes a toddler, anyone who knows anything about child development knows that toddlers are notoriously egotistical. They never play with others their own age. They play side by side with others because in their world, they are the only one in it. Toddlers truly have a mentality that the world is all theirs and everything in it belongs to them. When your toddler turns into a little girl or boy, they begin to learn one incident at a time that everything in their world has an owner. That owner is a person and needs to be valued.

It is our job as parents to reinforce these life lessons. This is the easy part, “Please give the ball back, it belongs to so and so. It makes so and so sad when you take their ball, ect…” 

Where it gets harder is when it seems like your child is never going to learn. They might begin to lie and manipulate a little too easy. They might escalate the bad behavior or repeat it. I have realized that it’s important to remember that all children learn at their own pace and especially children that are developmentally delayed or have special needs are going to inevitably need a few more incidents to learn that the world and all its contents do not just belong to themselves. 

At the same time, your child is learning empathy, which was a foreign concept to them as a toddler. Remember to really “pull”the empathy card when you are feeling frustrated. It is a “win win” as it makes you feel better as a teacher of lessons and it makes them feel empathy, or in other words, make them feel sad that they hurt someone,  and this could be as easy as a heartfelt written apology to their victim. 

Try not to doubt life’s natural process of development no matter how frustrating it tends to get. Repeating bad behavior doesn’t necessarily mean that your child is a deviant destined for prison someday. If your child lives in a healthy, loving environment, it  doesn’t necessarily mean your child needs more attention either. So don’t beat yourself up like I have the past couple of stressful weeks. Take a deep breath, and keep temptations hidden to prevent family burglary  and keep in mind that while consequences are important for your theiving child, don’t forget a “reminder” punishment for the older sibling who carelessly left their candy or property out for the taking! 

Happy Holidays! 2016

Here are the final results from our big family Thanksgiving, a.k.a Operation T-Day 2016:

#Thanksgiving2016 #Thanksgiving

After the food was cleared & things settled down, we put up our family Christmas tree. It was harvested from my mom & dad’s 40 acres in Kooskia Idaho. It’s only 19 feet tall and we anchored it at the first landing, so that it wouldn’t tip over. It’s an amazing tree and has already done its job bringing joy to all that sees it! ๐ŸŽ„Merry Christmas, Essential Wish Kits loyal readers! Our wish for you is that you become inspired to put up the biggest Christmas tree! Good tidings to you and your families this special holiday season๐ŸŽ„#Christmas2016 #Christmas 

Apple Cider Jello Shots

For the adults only!!

6 ounce box of Orange Jello

1 Cup boiling water

1 Cup boiling Apple Cider 

10 ounces Fireball Whiskey, chilled

6 ounces Apple Cider, chilled

Bring water & Cider to a boil, dissolve package of Jello, add chilled ingredients & stir. 

Pour into containers & chill until set! 

๐Ÿ’šTry & save them for Thanksgiving!๐Ÿ’š

Operation T-Day: Only 5 Days Left!

The turkey is thawing and so is the pig… 

Sage helped me finish the place settings and they will become little mini “mailboxes” where other guests can write personal, anonymous notes of gratitude and drop in each intended person’s jar! With truffles & mechanical pencils added, they will double as a personalized party favor for each guest! 

๐Ÿ’šThe jars came from Michael’s Crafts for $1.50 each. We also used a 20% off entire purchase coupon. Gold & Silver mechanical pencils came from Target for 3.99 for 10. They are so cute! 

Also finished is the kid’s craft table!

๐Ÿ’šCovered in Kraft paper bought from the dollar store, this table will be fun to write letters to Santa, notes,  and/or drawings of Thankful messages!
๐Ÿ’šTip of the day: I have a big container to put drinking water in for guests, to be placed somewhere other than the kitchen to limit congestion throughout the event. I put pomegranate seeds & rosemary springs in ice cube trays and made ice cubes for the water ahead of time. They will be so pretty in the clear acrylic water dispenser!

Aside from a small near death paint spill, and a couple of other hiccups, everything seems to be coming together quite nicely! We can’t wait for our family to start arriving in the next few days and enjoying every single one of them! 

Operation T-Day: Working Progress

Day 4: I put up garland. I love the little green berries that I added! The garland is a nice addition, but after deciding that it needed soft white lights, I realized it was already time to start another shopping list: 2 extra chairs, battery operated lights, wine glasses, wreath, & placecards, (just to name a few). 

I received many comments regarding my chosen theme. Most people agree it’s definitely more festive than thankful, but there are no rules here. The best part of hosting a big family holiday gathering? My family already knows that I am a nutty Christmas lady! 
๐Ÿ’šI have started my “Thanksgiving 2016” Pinterest board. I really love this app because it helps me plan & organize my menu details including storing the recipes. ๐Ÿ’šTip of the day: If you are trying any new recipes for your big event, take a weekend to practice or test it out first. It takes stress off & it really helps you decide if you want to include it in the dinner fare lineup. ๐Ÿ’šI have also started to delegate some choice tasks to other family members. Keep in mind though, never give tasks to others that are vital to your event, in case they fail to follow through for some reason.

Operation: Thanksgiving Dinner

Day 1:

๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’šBreaking News!!!!๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š

I am hosting Thanksgiving at our house this year, which I will dub “Operation T-Day”! I did a head count yesterday & we are expecting around 20 people. Not too bad for being the oldest of 4 children, having 8 children, (2 having a plus 1, & 2 grandsons), I started rearranging furniture (deep cleaning under as I went along) in order to turn my giant oak dining table to be able to configure it to seat everyone around.I cringed to put the leaf in for the first time since last winter.Babies, finger painting with pudding,messy eaters, craft projects, school projects, Essential Wish Kits Projects,glitter,cake batter, & the list goes on what I found caked into those crevasses.I really need to get in & clean those cracks more often!๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’šThought it would be appropriate to post a before & after pic,so when I start to feel like it’s not good enough,(only because I am a perfectionist),I can look back at the before pic and see how much I have accomplished! #Thanksgiving2016

Operation T-Day: 

Day 2 consisted of shopping, which I dislike greatly!After the craft shows,we were sorely low on basic craft supplies, which is my ๐Ÿ’štip for the day. Start projects by making sure you stock up on basics first. The craft supply stores have some pretty great sales this time of year&never underestimate the dollar stores.

Day 3: My Thanksgiving Table Theme is chosen! Does this look familiar, readers? Mostly dollar store finds.The trays are old picket fence boards left at its natural state that one of our editors picked up at an estate sale mounted in a spray painted silver metallic ornately detailed thrift store frame. The votive jars are repurposed candy dishes from my daughter’s baby shower&sorry kids,the gifts are for decoration only๐Ÿ˜†!

I am in love ๐Ÿ˜ with it! 

Getting A Head Start On The Holidays

Your Holidays will be merry & bright with our Helpful Hints list below:


Let’s face it, the holidays are stressful. Particularly hard when you aren’t that organized to begin with. We have created a list of all the things that can be done ahead of time to take a little stress out of your Holidays this year, so you can actually enjoy this special time of year. 

Just for a little visual inspiration….

The recipe for our Essential Fall Harvest Pie can be found at the link above or

๐Ÿ’šHoliday Prep List:

o Get a calendar and mark all of the important days that you have left in the year, up until New Years Day.

o Begin planning menus for all of these important days. Pinterest is a great way to find ideas & it is a handy place to store recipes & decorating ideas by creating a board for each special event. Example: I have a board that I titled: Thanksgiving Dinner, 2016. Then, create a list of ingredients that you will need. You can bring this to the grocery store with you and buy only a few items here & there. This way, it won’t feel so overwhelming financially and physically.

o Create a complete budget for the rest of the year. Consider setting up automatic payments through your bank for all of your bills. It’s easy to forget to take care of the basics when you are so busy.

o Create a gift list as early as possible!I realize that it’s not even Halloween yet, but it really takes so much stress off if you get a head start.The list consists of people you need to buy for, budget, & gift ideas. Carry this with you at all times! I can’t tell you how many times I was just standing in line somewhere & overheard one of my kids talking about something they wished they had or needed & I wished I hadn’t had 15 billion other things rolling through my mind.

o Try new recipes ahead of time on free nights that you can’t think of anything else to fix for supper. It’s so frustrating when the recipe you planned using for your big holiday dinner turns out to be a big zero.

o Bake ahead. Most pies, holiday cookies, & class party treats freeze really well. Just make sure they are wrapped air tight & you will be so happy when all that baking is a distant memory.

o Schedule a day to take some time to do something for yourself. I think I might go get my hair cut before I am too busy to care about the way I look.

๐Ÿ’šImportant Dates You May Consider Adding To Your Holiday Calendar:

o Taking the kids to see Santa

o Halloween

o Thanksgiving

o Christmas

o New Years Eve

o Kidโ€™s class parties

o Christmas cookie exchange

o Volunteer or do a project to help others day

o Christmas Eve party

o Black Friday shopping

o Taking the kids shopping

o Family pictures

o Make/work on Christmas Cards

o Mailing Holiday packages

o Attending Holiday parades, events, or town tree lighting

o Wrap gifts

o Decorate

o Putting up Christmas lights

o Taking a trip to the pumpkin patch

o Tree trimming party

o Company Christmas parties

o Playing The Gratitude Game with your family, which can be found at

o Help your kids write a letter to Santa

o Local Holiday Bazaar shopping

๐Ÿ’šHappy Holidays From Our Family To Yours!


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Gifts That Keep On Giving

Have you ever had a hard time finding a gift for a special friend or loved one that is recouperating from a hospital stay or maybe just a grandparent that doesn’t get around as often anymore? We created this Essential Wish Kit for that very reason! It’s a gift to keep yancy hands busy, and when finished, the lovely recipient has their very own handmade gift to pass on. 

It had been years since I last picked up a crochet hook until recently when I was thinking of creating this Essential Wish Kit for my Grandma! I always loved watching her crochet as a kid. Sitting on her lap all snugly warm while every 1/2 hour or so we would have to turn the afghan a bit for her to start a new direction. It just kind of occurred to me one day that it had been so long, I couldn’t remember the last time I saw her crocheting. Often we lose things we love and it takes people that care about us to remind us once again! I found that there are lots of You Tube tutorials (too many to mention) that were very effective for me to brush up on my skills, or if you are a beginner, you can even learn from square one. For the record, I am still not very good. It did, however keep my hands busy for quite awhile!

We came up with this little rhyme below for you to print for your gift tag and any practical, reusable basket will hold it all together! 

Click on pic here to save & print:

๐Ÿ’šConsider assembling a few baskets to donate to your local nursing homes or hospitals during this upcoming holiday season. 

๐Ÿ’šOur kiddos surprisingly had so much fun picking out the yarn and the entire project cost us under $10. 

๐Ÿ’šGiving to others this holiday season is guaranteed to fill up our little one’s hearts with so much joy!

Happy crocheting!