August 27, 2016

Slow Week for Our OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 8/28/2016

I picked up another package of of the cute toddler baseballs on clearance at CVS.


I picked up a package of envelopes from Walmart to add to the oldest age group's boxes.


I got some mechanical pencils free at CVS.


I was able to hit a couple Dollar Generals to take advantage of their 50% off all clearance deal.


I also picked up some items for the shoeboxes I'm tasked with shopping for a packing party with the kids at my church...posted some of that on the Simply Shoe Box Facebook page.

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $6.30

Spent from gift cards I have earned or won online: $5.95

Added to stockpile:
  • 5 toddler baseball
  • Package of envelopes
  • Package of mechanical pencils
  • 4 water bottles
  • Decorative pencil
  • Package of whistles
  • 2 packages of stickers
  • 2 Lego type kits
We have shared several ideas on Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Stockpile Organization for those of you interested.

August 22, 2016

Crayon Brands Coloring Test for Consideration in Packing In Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

Crayon brand coloring test.  What crayons are best for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes?
At this time of year there are a great variety of prices of crayons at back to school sales:  from fifty cents to as inexpensive as a penny.  So many choices...how to choose!  We want to send nice things to the children in our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, but we don't want to spend money just to get a name on the box.  So I decided to do some tests.

We tested five brands for both coloring quality and resistance to heat (that they might experience in transit).  The brands we tested were Crayola, which you can normally get for $0.50 at Walmart & Dollar General during back to school sales,  Cra-Z-Art, normally $0.25 during back-to-school sales at Walmart,  Playskool which can be found at Dollar Tree and other dollar stores for $1, and  Dollar General offers a brand I*Magine often 3 for $1 or $0.33/$0.34 a piece at Back-to-school sales.  Also at Office Depot I got some Scholastic brand for $0.01.   All those prices are for 24 count except Playskool that is 36.  For those who are concerned about manufacture location:  most are made in China, Crayola is made in the USA or Mexico, you'll have to check the package.  (This post contains marked affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links)

Now crayons exact make up may change from year to year, or from batch to batch, especially cheaper ones that may have less stringent controls, but this is the best info we can give you.

First, how do they color?

Everyone has different preferences in coloring tools.  For instance, I prefer gel pens and hate ball point pens, but other members of my family like ball point and don't

August 20, 2016

School Supplies & Clearance for OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 8/20/2016

My sister and I both were able to stop and pick up the penny deals at Office Depot, I only got a photo of mine, though, but we got double of this for our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. I'm waiting to decide on whether or not to send this brand of crayons until I do some more tests on it's quality.  UPDATE:  we did a melt and coloring test on several brands of crayons.  Find them here:  Crayon Brands Review.  This brand melted the most easily so we donated them locally instead of packing them in our shoeboxes.

School supplies deals for Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing.
I stopped by Dollar General and picked up a few of the Summer toys marked 40% off...they rang up 66% off (no clue why).  So I picked up some more, then when I went to another one and picked up a couple things to test the clearance, and it wasn't on clearance at all! ...odd!!

Dollar General clearance shopping for Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing.

I also picked up some of these cute toddler baseballs 50% off at CVS

Including a ball in every Operation Christmas Child shoebox we pack.

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $10.71

Spent from gift cards earned or won online: $3.74

Added to stockpile:
  • 16 jump ropes
  • 1 par work gloves
  • 1 butterfly toy
  • 1 kite string 
  • 5 toddler baseballs
  • 60 pens
  • 6 pencils sharpeners
If you are wondering what other types of things to pack in a shoebox check out this post:  Filler Items for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes.

August 13, 2016

School Supplies for Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 8/13/2016

My sister and I were both able to stop by Dollar General and use their digital coupon for $5 off $20 school supplies for sale items, so ended up with all this for our Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing.

Dollar General deals for Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing.

My sister had just signed up for Dollar General digital coupons, and got a $1 off any $1.01 purchase, used it to pick up a pack of combs and a jump rope that was 40% off with the other summer toys.  These are both great for my 10 to 14 year old girl shoeboxes.


We also both stopped at Office Depot and both picked up the poly notebooks and mini boxes (for fishing kits).  Check out two ways to fit a spiral notebook in an OCC shoebox.

School supplies from Office Depot for Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing.

I also stopped by Mighty Dollar to pick up some more of those super cute foam animal puzzles I found last week.


Spent from shoebox packing budget: $40.12

Added to stockpile:
  • 40 boxes of 24 Crayola Crayons
  • 13 boxes of 12 Crayola colored pencils 
  • 14 packs of 18 pencils
  • 1 pack of 3 combs
  • 1 jumpropes 
  • 6 mini boxes
  • 6 poly notebooks
  • 4 sets of foam animal puzzles (8 animals per set plus 2 scenes)
We include crayons in almost every Operation Christmas Child shoebox we pack and wondered which were best.  We did some comparisons in both coloring and melting.  You can find them both here:  Crayon Brand Reviews.

August 6, 2016

Online Orders & More for OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 8/6/2016

I did a couple orders online for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes that I got in the last week.

First, from Amazon I got these toothbrush holders ( Medline Toothbrush Holders, 72 count)  I'm really happy with them as they seem to hold all different kinds of toothbrushes I've got deals on. I was even able to fit two of the cheaper ones in!  I like to try to send more expensive ones (that I get on sale with coupons, see Simply CVS for more info on how I do that) when possible as I hope they're last longer then cheaper ones, and as I can often get them for around $0.25 a piece for nice name brand ones, I thought it was worth it.

Bulk toothbrush holders for Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing.

From Dollar Tree I ordered these (Plastic Snack Containers with Lock-Top Lids, 3-ct. Packs) fellow packers recommended for soap cases. I really like them, they even have a seal which I hope will keep the scent in.

I was really happy about being able to get these cases as that's something I really wanted to add to my boxes this year.  With so many of the children getting boxes living in poor houses with nowhere clean to store them or in refugee camps, or orphanages where they have to share washrooms, it just seemed like something good to add if I could


I stopped at Office Depot after church to get some of the penny and quarter deals.

Office Supply deals for OCC shoeboxes.
My sister was also able to stop and get more of the quarter deals.

25 cent deals from Office Depot for Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing.


I had an $8 ECB I'd got at CVS from buying oral care items for shoeboxes that was going to expire, so I picked up four of these $2.50 T-shirts for the 10-14 year boy shoeboxes, as they were still on our needed list...we're getting really close to everything we need for the year...still picking up fun stuff as we find it though-more to shove in our boxes this year, or a start for next year.


When I stopped by Mighty Dollar to pick up something we needed, I saw this, decided to pick up one to check it out-they turned out to be really cute!!!  Jungle and ice scenes, lion, gorilla, polar bear, walrus, two penguins, and a mama and young elephant.



Spent from shoebox packing budget: $4.33

Spent from gift cards earned or that I won online: $46.48

Added to stockpile:
  • 72 toothbrush cases
  • 72 cases to use for soap
  • 6 magic marker 10 packs
  • 9 erasers 
  • 3 composition books
  • 72 pens (red & black)
  • 4 t-shirts
  • 8 foam puzzle animals
You can check out different types of shoeboxes to use for packing in this post:  What Type of Box to Pack for Operation Christmas Child.

             
Disclosure: Links on Simply Shoeboxes may be affiliate partners or referrals.
______________________________________________________________________