Browsing Category

Care Packages

Care Packages

Open When Letter Ideas

April 12, 2017
Open When Letter Ideas

I’ve shared my love of open when letters before, having sent them with A a time or two. It’s the perfect way to cover all situations your loved one may encounter without sending a care package every single day.  You can send some with your loved one when he or she leaves and then add a few to each care package. Plus open when letter ideas can be easily customized to be from a group of people or other family members, including a child or even a pet.

I’ve used padded envelopes for some of my larger and more fragile open when letter ideas, but you could use almost any envelope you have around the house. Or fold all of your letters and skip the envelope altogether. And get creative with the contents: they don’t all need to be actual letters.

Open When Letter Ideas

Open when you can’t sleep: sleepy time teabag, a CD with soothing music, an eyemask.

Open when you’re homesick: a picture of home, leaves from a tree in your yard, a snack unique to your state.

Open when you miss me: pictures of you, a note and a spritz of your perfume.

Open when you’re feeling down: funny jokes, inspirational quotes, letters from family and friends.

Open when you’ve had a great day: confetti, of course! And a note of congratulations.

Open when you’ve had a bad day: send something to cheer them up.

Open on the day you leave: include a small photo of you in a note.

Open halfway through: you could send just half of a note or maybe a “you did it!” card.

Open when you’re coming home: send a list of all the things you can’t wait to do when he/she gets home.

Open when you need a laugh: jokes, silly pictures, a funny movie or a comic strip from back home.

Open when you need encouragement: an inspirational quote (or a series of them) to hang in his/her room.

Open when you really need a drink: send small booze flavored snacks.

Open on blank holiday/special occasion: small paper decorations for the holiday, a themed note or card.

Open when you need a breath of fresh air: an air freshener to hang in his/her room.

Open when you need a reminder of what you’re defending: photos and notes from family and friends.

Open when you need to hear my voice: a CD or thumb drive with a recorded message.

Open on blank day of the week: a small note for each day of the week.

Open for a surprise

Open when you need a little music in your life: a mix CD or even a cheesy musical card.

Open when you need an escape: include plans for your homecoming vacation as well as pictures of the destination.

Open when you’re feeling a little hangry: a small snack and a sweet note.

Open when you’re frustrated: a sheet of bubble wrap, a stress ball, a “hang in there” kitten poster.

Open when you need a hug: a tracing of your arms.

Open when you need a break: a Kit Kat, a mini book of crossword or word search puzzles.

What are your favorite open when letter ideas?

Care Packages Countdowns & Cupcakes Store

Bedtime Care Package

April 10, 2017
Bedtime Care Package

Raise your hand if you sleep horribly when your spouse isn’t home. Yup, me too. I toss and turn endlessly every time A is gone and he doesn’t fare much better either. That mutual sleeplessness has led me to send him some sleep aids throughout his deployment and served as the inspiration for my new bedtime care package!

This is the first small flat rate care package I’ve offered in my shop and frankly I hope it takes off! These little guys are so fun and easy to make and fill that I hope more people send them.  Plus, they’re significantly cheaper to ship overseas (or even within the United States). Trust me, small flat rate boxes are where it’s at. I plan to send significantly more of them during A’s next deployment.

This bedtime care package is the perfect thing to send to your loved one if they’re having a hard time sleeping. It comes with a suggestion card with ideas for what to include, but the sky’s (or the moon’s) the limit with this one.

Bedtime Care Package

I knew from the very beginning that I wanted a dark night sky and twinkly starts for the design. And I got just that, adding in a friendly moon to complete the look. All of the elements are cut from sparkly card stock (that doesn’t shed glitter) and they are just so stinking cute.

My bedtime care package is available in my shop, ships for free and is less expensive than my full size care package designs.  Plus 10% of each purchase still goes to an organization that supports military families!

Care Packages

Kids And Care Packages

April 5, 2017
Kids and Care Packages: How to Get Them Involved at Any Age!

Military kids are some of the most flexible and resilient people around and frankly they deserve way more appreciation than they get. Thanks to April being the Month of the Military Child, they’ll get a little extra love here on Countdowns and Cupcakes over the next few weeks, including today’s post about kids and care packages.

Kids and care packages are a natural fit and a great way for little ones to stay connected with a deployed parent.

Kids and Care Packages

Write letters.

For this past deployment, I sent A a letter to open each day he was overseas. Lots of folks send “open when” care packages with notes in them. Imagine how happy a parent would be to receive some letters from their kids.

Older kids can write much longer letters or help little ones with their notes. Topics could include a list of things they want to do with mom/dad when they get home, a recap of what’s happening around the house or even a list of reasons why they love their parent. If your kids are really creative, you could even get them to write and illustrate a monthly newsletter that gets sent in each care package.

Draw or color pictures.

Not all kids are writers, but that doesn’t mean they can’t help with care packages! Drawing, painting or even coloring pictures is a great way to get even the smallest hands involved. The results will help add cheer to even the dreariest room.  Check out some of these super cute craft ideas for your kiddos.

Decorate the flaps.

I’ve often told A that I look forward to having kiddos help me decorate care packages because it means there’s way less work for me to do! Construction paper, some crayons and an afternoon later and I have a care package done that A will likely appreciate way more than anything I came up with.

Kids can decorate flaps with stickers, paint, markers/crayons, puffy paint or my husband’s arch nemesis, glitter. Pre-cut the paper to fit your flaps and then let them go to town (maybe outside if paint/glitter is involved).

Collect things to include.

Kids can send a little taste of home or whatever adventure you’ve gone on recently. For example, are you going to the beach? Have them pick the 3 prettiest shells they can find to send overseas. Or have them go on a hunt for the perfect fall leaf from the park to send along. That tangible reminder of home will do wonders for their parent’s spirits.

Give them the camera for the day.

This one may be most suitable for older kids, but I think it would be so fun! I always try and include some photos in my care packages, but how cool would it be if the photos were taken by the kids?! You could compile them into a “day in the life” photo book or even use them to decorate the box.

Let them pick out what goes in the care package.

Kids’ interests and passions change so frequently that it’s hard to keep up if you’re there with them, let alone if you’re halfway around the world. Having them pick out what goes into a care package will give the deployed parent a taste of what they’re into at that moment. This could be an awesome theme: “my favorite things”! You may want to intervene though and make sure some stuff gets in there that your spouse will like!

Many military spouses use care packages as a way to show our love when our loved one is far away. Kids are able to do that exact same thing by participating in the decorating and filling of care packages. What are ways you’ve gotten your kids involved with care packages? What’s your best tip for kids and care packages?

Care Packages

The Story Behind Care Packages

March 15, 2017
North Carolina Care Package

Someone recently asked me what happens to all of the decorated care packages I send to my husband when he’s deployed. When I explained that A destroys the boxes before returning home, their face fell a little bit. “Well that must make you feel bad, right? I mean what’s the point if he’s just going to throw them away?”

At first, I was bit taken aback by the question and couldn’t come up with an answer. On the surface, I completely understood the confusion. Why put hours of time into something that’s going to get thrown away? But on the other hand, it was so much a part of my relationship that it was hard to put into words why.

So I thought for a moment and then gave the only answer that I could think of:

Think of all the little things you do on a daily basis to show you love someone: holding their hand, a kiss before bed, maybe a text message at lunch. All of these moments get taken away from you when your loved one is deployed. For months at a time, I don’t get to kiss my husband goodnight or make his coffee in the morning. So I have to figure out other ways to show him my love.

For months at a time, I don't get to kiss my husband goodnight or make his coffee in the morning.… Click To Tweet

And yes, it’s kind of disappointing to know that my care packages aren’t going to end forever enshrined in some sort of best wife ever museum. But that’s not why I make care packages. I make them to give my husband a brief break in his day, a little taste of home and hopefully put a smile on his face. I make them to get my love across oceans and continents and into his world.

To me, care packages are more than just a decorated box filled with snacks. It’s a long-distance hug, a physical way of saying “I love you” when that’s my only option. Even though I know the boxes get thrown away, I can’t imagine not sending them.

Care Packages

Care Package Decor: Where To Find It & How to Save Money

March 8, 2017

It’s no secret that I love decorating care packages. But what I don’t love is hitting up multiple stores and spending a bunch of money in order to get the look I want. Over the course of a few deployments (and some serious trial and error), I’ve gathered a few go-to places for affordable care package decor.

Scrapbook paper:

Michaels and A.C. Moore are definitely my go-to spots for care package decor paper.  They always have fantastic coupons that can help you save a significant amount, especially if you plan your care packages in advance and buy paper in bulk.

Can’t find what you need at a store? Scrapbook.com has loads of options. They are a bit more expensive than Michaels or A.C. Moore and you’ll have to pay for shipping, but it’s a great option for really unique paper.

A note about purchasing paper: you’ll need at least 3 pieces for each box (more if you choose to line the inside).  Most craft stores sell paper as single sheets (for 0.69-0.99 each) or paper packs for a variety of pieces. If you’re planning multiple care packages in a similar color scheme, multi-sheet paper packs may be a great cost and time saver.

Decorations (stickers, cut out shapes, etc.):

Once again, craft stores are great sources for these items, but they can get pricey very quickly! Consider shopping for supplies AFTER their seasonal peak. For example, oftentimes Christmas stickers are less than half price the week after the holiday. Take advantage of those sales and use your coupons!

Another option is to make the long-term investment of purchasing a Cricut or Silhouette and using them to cut out letters and embellishments.  I cannot gush enough about how much I love my Silhouette and the vast improvement in my care packages since I got it.  Plus it’s nice knowing that I can make my decorations exactly the right size and not have to worry about finding stickers that fit.

My biggest tip for finding and saving money on care package decor is to think outside the box. Places like Target’s Dollar Spot or the Dollar Store offer seasonal or themed items that you can incorporate into your care package decor. You never know when you’ll find just the right item, so shop early in order to avoid that last minute purchasing panic (and the overspending that results from it).

Where do you find your care package decor?

If you like this post, I’d love it if you heart it on Bloglovin’ or pin it on Pinterest.