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Care Packages

Anniversary Care Package Inspiration

July 26, 2017
Anniversary care package inspiration

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know that anniversaries have a lot of meaning to me and that I really enjoy celebrating them. I certainly don’t let something as small as my husband being deployed stop me! As our dating anniversary approaches, I’ve started thinking about the anniversary care package I will send him.  I pulled together some of my favorite ideas for you all!

Anniversary Care Package Decor

Photos

You could print a photo collage and cut it to fit each flap or even create one with individual photos on the flap itself. Depending on the resolution of your photo, you could blow it up and use one photo to cover the entire inside of the box. Imagine how cool that would look!

Maps of significant locations

Pick a map of where you met, where you fell in love, where you live, where you got engaged/married and you’ve already covered the entire box! I used maps for a care package during our last deployment and loved how it turned out.

Handwritten love letters

People don’t write love letters enough anymore; email and texts just aren’t the same. There’s something inherently more romantic about handwritten letters and what better time to use them than an anniversary care package? You would need to write them on large enough paper to cover the entire flap, but the effect would be so sweet.

Reasons you love him/her

This could go hand-in-hand with handwritten love letters, but covering all four flaps with reasons you love your service member works perfectly for an anniversary.  You could write out a long list or place a few reasons in little envelopes attached to the flaps.

Anniversary Care Package Contents

Photo album or scrapbook

You can find small photo albums for a few dollars and once you fill them with pictures, they make the perfect gift. Since most albums have those plastic photo protectors, you could also slip in a few love notes or include small mementos of your relationship.

LoveBook 

No, this isn’t something dirty. LoveBook is this super cute illustrated version of life with your loved one. The characters are super cute and they have so many different pages, you will definitely find something that applies to your relationship.

Deployment-friendly take on traditional gift

Did you know that there are traditional wedding anniversary gifts? See if you can come with a deployment-friendly version of the traditional anniversary gift to send your loved one. Creative gifts are often the best because of the extra thought that goes into them.

Puzzle letter

I just found this idea and so want to try my hand at a puzzle letter! This would be so cute if you used a photo of the two of you as the picture and then wrote a sweet note on the back.  It’s something interactive and handmade for your loved one with a sentimental twist.

Do you celebrate all of your anniversaries? What would you put in an anniversary care package?

Care Packages

Your Care Package Questions Answered

July 24, 2017

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend! I was in hardcore care package mode over the past two days filling orders, planning for the rest of 2017 and designing a few care packages for my husband. It’s funny how quickly something goes from a hobby to a full on obsession, isn’t it? A few years ago, I didn’t even know what a flat rate box was and now people come to me for care package advice! I pulled together a few of the most commonly asked questions for you all today.

How do you get things to stick?

There are a lot of suggestions out there about which glue to use. Some people are firmly in the glue stick camp while others insist that hot glue is the way to go. I place myself in a third group: glue dots. They come with zero mess and have great holding power. They’re what I use to put together all of my care packages, both for my husband and for my shop. If you haven’t tried them, give them a shot!

I want to send a lot of care packages to my husband, but they get so expensive. How do I keep costs down?

There are lots of ways to keep care package costs down, but I think the best one is to think small. Yes, you read that correctly. Sending small flat rate boxes instead of large or medium ones helps save money. You could even package a few small care packages in the larger one so your loved one has lots to open!

I’m sending clothing, but how do I keep them from smelling musty?

Dryer sheets tucked in between each item of clothing will help things stay fresh. You can also package each item into a plastic bag with a dryer sheet to keep as much smell out as possible. Plus, let’s be honest, sending some extra dryer sheets for your loved one to use probably wouldn’t hurt.

How do you keep chocolate from melting? 

Oh I wish I had a foolproof answer for this one. Ultimately, any chocolate you send may melt during shipping. But there are steps to reduce melting and minimizing the mess when any does occur.  Freezing your chocolate before shipping it may reduce the amount of melting. I would pop your chocolate in the freezer for 3 or 4 days before you ship it and then pack it into plastic bags so any melted chocolate doesn’t end up everywhere. But I think we can all agree that melted chocolate is still better than no chocolate, right?

How do you come up with your ideas?

This is probably the easiest question to answer because most of the time it’s my husband. Seriously, I make boxes that I think he would like and that goes for products in my shop as well. Sometimes I show him a few ideas and he picks the one he likes the best.

But this time around, I am asking you to fill in for him! I have a few ideas for the next product to add to the shop and need your help picking the winner. Take a moment or two to choose the care package(s) you’d most like to see in my shop!  Don’t see one you love? Leave me a comment with your suggestion. At the end of the week, I’ll pick two people to receive a free care package kit as a thank you for participating!

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Care Packages

Care Package Recipes

July 19, 2017
Care Package Recipes

When A is gone, I show my love via care packages. When he’s home, that love is expressed via homemade food. For a long time, I viewed one as replacing the other, but not anymore! As I’ve gotten more familiar with this world, I’ve learned that care package recipes that will make it overseas exist.

In order for care package recipes to make it overseas, they need to withstand at least two weeks of high temperatures, zero refrigeration and some bumps along the way.  It’s important to keep that in mind when putting recipes together.

Care Package Recipes

Trail mix

I shared my patriotic trail mix earlier this month, but the possibilities here are really endless! Since you’re making it yourself, you can really customize the ingredients to your loved one’s preferences. There are so many recipes out there, that there is something for everyone, plus it’s easy for your loved one to share with friends and co-workers. Here are a few ideas to get you started: sweet and salty trail mix, low-carb trail mix and S’mores trail mix.

Granola

Granola is trail mix’s healthier cousin and is great to send overseas. Once again, it’s easy to customize and completely shareable. This graphic has an easy recipe plus loads of customization ideas.

Cake in a jar

If there are favorite care package recipes among military spouses, cakes in mason jars are it. There are so many variations and they are super popular. You can even use boxed cake mix! SpouseBuzz has a great step-by-step tutorial for putting them together.

Biscotti

The good thing about biscotti is that it’s meant to be hard! And while I still recommend taking the steps below to give it the best change of arriving in good condition, it does give you a little more wiggle room.  Avoid recipes with chocolate chips in the biscotti or chocolate has a drizzle on top as that will likely melt during the journey. This classic almond biscotti or the cinnamon toast biscotti would be great to send along with some nicer coffee!

 

While all of these care package recipes have a better chance of making it overseas in good shape, there are additional steps that you can take to maximize their changes of still being delicious when they arrive.

Shrink wrap everything. 

If you have a machine that does it for you, that’s fantastic! But if not, consider wrapping things very tightly in plastic wrap and then place them in a plastic airtight container. Double-wrapping items doesn’t guarantee they’ll arrive perfectly fresh, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Add a slice of bread. 

The theory is that adding a slice of bread to your care package recipes keeps baked goods softer. The baked items absorb the moisture from the bread and don’t go stale as quickly. Use white bread so the bread doesn’t transfer any flavor to your homemade goodies.

Bake things at the last minute. 

Your care package recipes are going to take a few weeks to get into the hands of your loved one. Don’t extend that time by baking something way in advance. Bake as close to your shipping date as possible and package items quickly. Wait for things to cool completely though!

What care package recipes have you sent to your loved one?

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Military Branch Care Package

July 17, 2017
Military branch care package

My heart belongs to someone in the Navy. That sentence sums up 98% of my life and was the inspiration for the new military branch care package in my shop. When you become a military spouse, a piece of your heart travels around the world with your significant other every time they leave. This care package represents that perfectly.

I wanted the flaps to be very simple so that the emphasis could be on the bottom. The yellow cutouts provide the perfect background for 5×7 photos or a love note to your service member. This is the first time I created a care package design with the intention of it being customized by customers and I’m excited for folks to get their hands on it.

Military branch care package

I went with a very subtle color scheme for this care package so that each branch was represented equally. The shimmery gray paper plays perfectly off the gray hearts on the bottom paper and gives the flaps a little added dimension. Each branch has a different cutout on the fourth flap that really pops against the gray.

Military branch care package

This military branch care package comes in a version for each branch so there is something for everyone, no matter which branch has your heart. You can view the different versions in my Etsy shop. As always, the care package ships free in the US and 10% of each sale will be donated to an organization that supports military families.

Which branch has your heart?

P.S. you can learn more about my second quarter donation recipient, Service Dogs for Heroes, here.

Care Packages

“Reasons I Love You” Care Package

July 12, 2017

If you’re anything like me, you probably tell your husband that you love him a lot. But what I don’t do as often is tell my husband WHY I love him. I often think it in the moment, but then something happens or a I get distracted and rarely share it with him. And frankly that’s a shame. Who doesn’t like hearing why someone else finds them awesome?

So when it came time to put together A’s travel care package, I knew immediately that reasons I love him would be the perfect theme. I found a small white box at Michael’s to hold all of my notes. I gathered all of my cute Post-Its and pens and got writing.

At first I thought writing more than all of these notes would be hard, but as soon as I started, the ideas started flowing.  Before I knew it, my little box was full of reasons I loved my husband.

This was quite possibly the easiest care package I’ve ever put together, mainly because there are so many reasons I love my husband! But seriously, this is a really quick way to make a big impact on your loved one; you can even have little ones or other family members contribute notes. I put in a few reasons from Ruger and B. You can make it as simple or complicated as you’d like, making it very budget friendly.

This would be a great thing to include in an anniversary care package or even give to someone as their anniversary present. If you really wanted to take things up a notch, you could write each reason on the back of a photo. Just like the reasons you love someone, the ideas for this care package are endless.

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