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Care Packages

PCS Care Package

September 20, 2017
PCS Care Package

It’s easy to get stuck in a care package rut: they’re for deployed troops and come in decorated flat rate boxes based on some sort of theme. All of that is 100% true of course, but there are so many other groups who would enjoy a care package! Luckily military spouses don’t have to look too far for another care package recipient: new neighbors. A PCS care package is the perfect way to welcome a new neighbor to the ‘hood.

PCS Care Package Ideas

PCS Care Package

Squeaky clean PCS Care Package

Moving is a chore, am I right? Whether you’re just changing houses or going to another state, the entire process is exhausting. Just when you think that all the work is done, you realize that the previous owners maybe didn’t leave things as clean as you’d like them. So add one more thing to your already packed to-do list!

A great PCS care package for a new neighbor would be a basket (or bucket) of cleaning supplies to help that process along. Everything from tile cleaner to sponges to paper towels help get a new house in squeaky clean shape. Add in a nice scented candle to make it feel homier and you’ve really helped them feel welcome!

Live like a local PCS Care Package

Military families often move to a new home without really knowing a whole lot about the surrounding area. Where the United States of America tells us to go, we go. It doesn’t matter if they have decent Chinese food or a grocery store we’re familiar with. Help them learn the ropes of their new home with a PCS care package full of local area resources.

Menus from local restaurants (and maybe a gift card or two), a guidebook with fun locations and activities for the family and your recommendations for grocery stores, dry cleaners and so on would be great things to add to this care package.

PCS Care Package

Dinner’s covered PCS Care Package

When I move, the first room that has to be unpacked is the kitchen because if I can’t eat a normal meal, I get very cranky. But if you’ve just moved across the country (or to another country), grocery shopping and figuring out what to eat for dinner is probably the last thing on your mind. You can help your new neighbors by showing up with dinner in a basket!

This particular PCS care package has a few different variations: bring the ingredients and a recipe like in the picture, bring something fully prepared that all they need to do is heat or bring a few gift cards to local places so they can choose when to use them.

Or if you want to go super simple: show up with pizza and paper plates. You’ll still meet the new folks and be the hero at dinnertime!

Take a little piece of home with you PCS Care Package

For every new neighbor that arrives, you have to say goodbye to someone you’ve gotten to know pretty well. You can send your neighbor off to their new home with a few pieces of the place they’re leaving behind. A coffee table book with famous scenes from the town (or state) along with a few unique foods are great contents for this PCS care package.

A PCS care package is a great way to welcome new neighbors, something military families have plenty of! Have you ever given or received a PCS care package and what made it great?

Care Packages

Anniversary Pun Care Package

September 13, 2017
Anniversary Pun Care Package

Some of you may remember that last month A and I celebrated our five year dating anniversary. Well technically, we’re waiting to celebrate it because A is currently deployed, but I made sure he was still feeling the love thanks to my anniversary pun care package.

Even before A left, I knew that I wanted this box to be food themed, mainly because there are so many cute food puns out there! I chose four of my favorites and started cutting out all the pieces. This is probably the most labor intensive box I’ve sent him so far because each flap had multiple layers, but the end result is so worth it!

Anniversary Pun Care Package

I picked a dark blue as the background for this anniversary pun care package so that everything would pop against it. Plus dark blue is my husband’s favorite color so I couldn’t really go wrong! This was the rare care package that I opted to not wrap all of its contents and instead covered the top with a layer of tissue paper. Truth be told I was running a bit short on time and couldn’t find the right color paper to go with everything. I ended up really liking the blank slate the white tissue paper gave me; it made sure your attention went right to the box’s flaps!

Anniversary Pun Care Package

I packed this box full of goodies, including a microwavable mac and cheese dinner to remind him of our first date, but my favorite was definitely the personalized book I made! I used a company called LoveBook and it could not have been easier! The website has a bunch of pre-made templates, but you can edit them to fit your relationship. I put together a paperback story of our relationship and absolutely loved the way it turned out.  If you haven’t given LoveBook a try, definitely give it a shot. (P.S. this is totally not a sponsored post. I just really loved my book!)

I know I say this a lot, but this anniversary pun care package may be my favorite one yet! I so wish we could have celebrated five years as a couple together, but this care package was a nice placeholder under we can be together again.

Care Packages

Nut Care Package

September 6, 2017
Nut Care Package

There is no one in this world who has the ability to drive me nuts quite like my husband. It’s a good thing he’s cute, huh?! But oddly enough, the things that irritate me when he’s home are some of the first things I miss when he’s gone. Truth be told, even his odd quirks are part of the total package that I love. This realization led me to create this nut care package for him.

Last deployment, I discovered the appeal of the small flat rate boxes and when I was planning out his care packages for this deployment, I knew I wanted to use a few to fill in gaps between larger boxes. I’ve previously sent nut-themed care packages before, but wanted this one to be a little less nutty. The small flat rate box was just perfect!

Nut Care Package

One of the many things I love about small flat rate boxes is that they are so quick and easy to decorate. Don’t get me wrong, I love designing and decorating the bigger boxes, but every once in a while, I want something a bit easier. So I kept this one very simple, even repurposing items from my nut care package in the shop. But I love how it turned out!

The blue paper was really bright and things popped against it really well. The trick to decorating small boxes like this is to decorate all the paper and then glue it to the box. Don’t try to decorate paper after it’s attached to the box. I speak from experience!

Nut Care Package

Then came the easy part: filling it! I always try to send new things and even though it was tiny, my nut care package was not an exception. The OLOMOMO nuts were a complete impulse purchase at World Market just because they were different. It turns out they were a 50-50 hit. The cinnamon-cayenne flavor was not a winner, but the salt and vinegar ones were!

Not a ton fits in a small flat rate box, but I tested a few different content combinations to get the most out of my nut care package’s space. Luckily, a few of the items were squishable and fit into the tight space.

Nut care packages are really fun to put together and could include a lot of different things:

  • Peanut butter
  • Other nut butters – Justin’s nut butters come in individual serving packets that would fit into small spaces.
  • Any mixed nuts or nut snack packs
  • Peanut butter crackers
  • Peanut butter cookies
  • M&Ms, Snickers, Butterfingers, etc.
  • Trail mix – you could try my homemade patriotic trail mix!
  • Nut Exactly snack bites – my husband loves the peanut popcorn ones.

My husband may drive me nuts, but I will always send him care packages. What’s something about your loved one that normally drives you nuts, but that you miss when he/she is gone?

Care Packages

Care Packages Beyond The Military

August 30, 2017

Care packages and the military are so closely linked that most folks probably view them as going hand-in-hand. They aren’t wrong: deployed troops probably receive the majority of care packages. But once you get into the rhythm of sending care packages, you start to realize just how many people in your life could benefit from one!

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Military spouses

On one hand, this is the most obvious group to need a care package, but we’re often the ones to get overlooked. Take it from me, deployments (or even shorter term separations) are difficult and sometimes there can be very few bright spots. But getting notes in the mail or a basket of cookies on the porch are definitely bright spots.

Things you could include in a military spouse care package: an encouraging note, a gift card for a meal, a coupon to babysit little ones, a relaxing candle, some chocolate and maybe even a bottle of wine. But really, it’s the thought that counts. Knowing that someone is thinking of you and recognizes that you’re going through a difficult time is so appreciated.

Short on time or craftiness? Luckily, companies like The Six Box and MilSO Box are ready to send a pre-filled care package to the military spouse in your life.

Students

My timeline has been filled with lots of back to school photos, all the way from pre-school to college, and they got me thinking. When I was away at college, I was pretty homesick for the first few weeks (ok, maybe closer to the first few months) and would have loved to have a little taste of home show up in my mailbox. This just screams care package opportunity!

You could pack: homemade food or baked goods (depending on the distance/travel time), letters from family at home, photos, favorite snacks or drinks and maybe even a few study aides.

Missionaries

Much like military personnel, missionaries can be away from home for extended periods of time. Why wouldn’t they enjoy a few comforts from home?

Similar to military care packages, missionary care packages are best if they include things the recipient loves. Snacks, music or books are great things to send. You could also include practical things like clothing, mini alarm clocks, sewing kits and toiletries.

New parents

Show me a new parent who feels completely in control of everything happening in their life and I will show you B’s new talent: pulling coins out of Roogie’s ears. Bottom line is that new parents would definitely appreciate a care package.

You could certainly include baby necessities (like diapers and wipes), but consider sending things that are more for the parents. Maybe it’s a pre-cooked dinner or a gift card for take out to ease the burden at dinnertime. Extra coffee, a new movie to watch when the baby won’t sleep, pain relievers for the headaches that will come and maybe an adult beverage or two would be very welcome.

New neighbors/homeowners

What better way to meet new people than by showing up with presents? A care package for your new neighbor is a great way to make new friends. A pre-made meal is a nice option, but I’d opt for the ingredients to make a meal, especially if you don’t know their tastes/dietary restrictions. Cleaning supplies, a gift card to your favorite restaurant in town, tips on the best eats and activities and a welcome note are also great additions.

Those in need

Whether they’re sick, injured or just went through a natural disaster, there are so many people who could benefit from a little extra love.  Obviously the key here is to send things the recipient can actually use in the present moment so contents would change based on each situation.  Make sure to think practically when you pack this care package. While very thoughtful, oven-ready meals won’t do someone much good if they don’t have access to an oven.

The beauty of care packages is that they allow you to give no matter how far you may be from someone. There’s a level of connection there that is hard to match when you’re separated.  So many people in your life would benefit from a little extra love and care packages are perfect ways to share that.

In the spirit of sharing a little extra love, I want to add a quick note about helping those affected by Harvey in Texas. I grew up in Houston and many friends still live there so the devastating flooding has really hit close to home for me. The people of Houston are strong and will get through this, but they can’t do it alone. If you are able to give, please consider doing so.  Organizations the American Red Cross are great and reliable ways to give, but I hope you’ll donate wherever you feel a connection. If a monetary donation isn’t possible for you right now, please consider sharing my message with your friends and family.

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Halloween Care Package

August 28, 2017
Halloween Care Package

Boo! Scared ya didn’t I? Don’t worry, that will be the only scary moment in this blog post. Because let’s be honest, my new Halloween care package is way too cute to be scary!

If you know me at all, you know that I love a good pun and when I started brainstorming my Halloween care package, I kept coming back to this one. Now that it’s all done, I’m so happy that I went with it! It’s cute, a little romantic and perfect for Halloween.

Halloween Care Package Flaps

I opted to alternate colors for the flaps to really drive home the Halloween theme. Plus I think the cut out pieces really stand out against their background color.  The flaps play off the bottom paper very well and make the whole thing come together.

But as much as I love the overall look of the box, there is one element that I love above and beyond the rest. I bet you can’t guess.

Oh. You guessed the sparkly cutouts. Well yes, that is my favorite part. But can you really blame me? There’s something about a Halloween care package that screams for glitter. Of course, I’d argue that every care package needs a touch of glitter.

Halloween Care Package

My Halloween care package is available for sale in my Etsy shop. As always, it ships for free and 10% of each sale is donated to an organization that supports military families.