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Pencil Brand Reviews for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

Review of pencil brands to include in an Operation Christmas Child shoebox. One thing we always pack in our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes is pencils.  At one time we thought about stopping sending them in the youngest age group as they might not be in school yet, then we heard from the parents of a recipient in that age group who specifically mentioned being grateful for the school supplies as their daughter was starting school soon.  I've read in many countries children are not allowed to attend school without supplies.  If you'd like to read more about the

Nail Brush from MDSupplies & Services Review ~ Small Addition to an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox

Nail brush review from MD Supplies & Services.Today I have a review for you of  Nail Brush, Purple Handle, white nylon bristles (NB3381) from MDSupplies & Service's special Shoebox Shoppers order form.   MDSupplies & Services has helpfully made us who pack for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes a special order form of just items that can go in shoeboxes...plus it has FREE SHIPPING!!!

These brushes are $7.62 for 50 brushes, so about 15 cents a piece.

 (Disclosure: post contains affiliate links & I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on them)

I try to include basic hygiene supplies in my OCC shoeboxes, and when I saw this nail brush I thought it might be a fun thing to consider adding to a shoebox.  If the

Lots of Basics for OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 7/22/2017

I had a pretty good week shopping for items to pack in my OCC shoeboxes with sales, special deals, and coupons.

Dollar General back to school sale shopping for OCC shoeboxes.

 First, last week Dollar General had a number of sales, plus $5 off instantly when you bought $15 of stationary.  They also had great sales...items normally $1-$1.50 for $0.50.  I managed to get exactly $15.  We decided to send iMagine colored pencils this year after testing 3 different brands.

CraZArt Crayons from Walmart for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.
Then we went to WalMart, not really so much of a special deal, although some were the bonus 26 counts...8% more for the same price.  But, instead of buying Crayola crayons (as we always had in the past) for $0.50, we felt comfortable buying these at $0.25 due to our crayon brand tests, so saved 50%!

There's a really great story about the CraZArt crayons...those look like a lot in the photo above, but I wanted one or two to split up in pencil packs for The Pencil Granny & Friends, plus I needed 100 for the church packing party, I already had enough for our family packing party.  My dad & I looked all around our local Walmart-like 4 different places, but could only find 21...still needed 80 more.  There were reports of the price going back up, and I'll be out of town over the turn of the month, so I was kind of discouraged and worried about finding enough.  Then my aunt reminded me she could look for things, so I shared the need...she said she had a few WalMarts and would look...within 24 hours I got a call saying she had all 80-a mix of 24 & 26 count boxes!

10% off Dollar Tree coupon shopping for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

Then Sunday, Dollar Tree had one of their rare 10% off $10 or more coupons.  I picked up a  variety of things: pencil sharpeners I really needed for my boxes, the checkers and flyers to check out, some fun hair bonuses to split up between boxes, etc.  And the bunny pencil case I just couldn't pass up!

Later in the week I went back to Dollar Tree to take advantage of the Dial bar for a dime deal.  They were confused about the internet coupon,but took it...reminder to self-ALWAYS take a copy of the corporate policy with you in case there are questions.   I'm always willing to pass up a deal if the clerk is uncomfortable with it, but having info to share can't hurt! 

I stopped by Walgreens to take advantage of the eraser 2-packs 6/$1.  I had a gift card we had won online to pay for it...so $0 out of pocket!

Dial soap deal for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

Then there was Another Dial Deal!  $1 for 2 packs, plus a couple Saving Star rebates for a total of $3 back, so 9 dozen bars for $6 + tax so about 5 and a half cents a bar before tax!  And so many fun colors and scents!

Kmart fishing supplies sale good for OCC shoeboxes.

Finally, I went to Kmart and their fishing supplies were 20% off, so I decided to pick up a couple things to split between a number of fishing kits, plus had a $5 off $25 and needed to buy some items for myself, so was able to apply $1.50 worth of the discount I got on the whole purchase toward this, also had $3.30 left on a giftcard we'd earned on Swagbucks, for even less spent out of pocket!

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $45.28

Spent from gift cards earned or won online: $11.22 

Added to stockpile:
  • 30 blue pens
  • 20 black pens
  • 143 pencils
  • 17 dozen colored pencil packs
  • 21 crayon packs
  • 120 pencil sharpeners
  • 1 pencil case
  • 1 calculator
  • 4 screwdrivers
  • 6 mini gliders
  • 1 checkers game
  • 1 train whistle
  • 4 packs various hair holders
  • 120 bars of soap
  • 20 erasers 
  • 210 fishing hooks
  • 30 fishing weights

Taking advantages of coupon deals and earning money online are just two of the ways we  Find Extra Money for Packing Our Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes.

Colored Pencil Brands Comparison Test for Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Packing

Colored Pencil Reviews for packing in Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

After we saw the results of our crayon coloring and heat tests, we decided to compare colored pencils this year, as sometimes name brand can cost twice as much, and as a child and teen, I don't really remember noticing that much difference in brands.  We want to include good quality items in our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes and that includes colored pencils.  The three brands we got to test were Crayola, CraZArt, and iMagine (Dollar General Brand).

I grew up with various brands of colored pencils, then as a teenager I received Prismacolor pencils because I was interested in art.  My mom and sister have

Another Dial Deal

Thanks to reader Nancy, I have another Dial deal to share with you!  Dollar General has 6 packs of Dial on sale for $2.  There's a printable coupon for $3/2, so $1 for two packs of six, or 12 bars total.

Here's the printable coupon (you should be able to print 2)

EDITED:  And it's no longer available, keep reading this blog, and I'll share when it is again!

EXPIRED: Dollar Tree Dial Deal ~ Great for OCC Shoeboxes

If you follow my Simply Shoeboxes Facebook page, you'll have already seen me share this deal from another of my blogs, but for those who just follow this blog I wanted to share about a deal I've been getting on Dial Soap.  There is currently this printable coupon available, you should be able to print two on your computer (print as soon as you can, it goes VERY quickly).

EDITED:  And it's no longer available, keep reading this blog, and I'll share when it is again!

Busy Shopping Week for OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 7/15/2017

After a few quiet shopping weeks for Operation Christmas Child, we made up for it this week-haha!  Yay for back-to-school deals!

Big Lots spiral notebook deal for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

Last Saturday my Dad & sister ran by Big Lots to take advantage of their 17 cents notebooks and 20% off coupon-scored all 100 notebooks I needed for the OCC packing party I'm in charge of coordinating at church with the children.  If you are wondering how we fit these in check out this post:  How to Fit a Notebook in an OCC Shoebox.

Dollar General pencil deals for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

While I was out running errands this week I stopped by Dollar General to take advantage of their $5/$15 stationary deal, there were no signs/ads at my store, but the clerk agreed to try and it worked!  The pencils were also on sale for 50 cents: 18 count pencils (tested these and they worked okay, little soft lead, so hard to keep sharp point, but works, and writes very smooth) and 12 count colored pencils (we tested  both of these and they seemed to work just fine, not the same as Crayola, but some of us actually preferred them.)

Dollar Tree Stickers clearance for OCC shoeboxes.

I stopped by Doller Tree to scope out their stock/items for the 10% off and hopefully score one of the 10% coupons.  I saw some fun stuff, and found these stickers on clearance-4 for $1, each has 4 sheets, and I'm doing a racing themed box, so some of them are already set aside for that!

Manual recharging flashlights for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

I also stopped by Might Dollar and found these manual recharging flashlights.

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $29.85

Added to stockpile:
  •  100 Notebooks
  • 18-12 packs colored pencils
  • 216 pencils
  • 16 sheets stickers (will probably cut apart into more)
  • 3 self charging flashlights
With all the great back to school sales we wondered how all the different pencil brands performed.  If you are interested we did two Pencil Brands Reviews posts.  We want to be able to take advantage of the great sales so we can send more, but we want to be sure we send good quality in our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

Butterfly Glider Printable Instructions to Include in OCC Shoeboxes

A few months ago I bought some butterfly gliders from Oriental Trading for my Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, and wanted to make some instructions to go with them.  I thought since I went to the effort to make them, I'd share them in case anyone else bought them (they don't have them anymore)  They should be able to print front and back, and should print on 8 1/2 by 11  inch paper.  I tried to make it understandable in any language, but did include a few words to help explain, but I think the arrows would do a lot on their own.

This is the first of a series of instructions I make or find to include with the items to be sure they know how to use the items I send in my Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

Happy Packing!

Baby Comb from MDSupplies & Services Review for Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Packing

If you read my blog, you probably saw my earlier post:  Combs and Brushes from MDSupplies and Services Review.  When I wrote that, I had only tried three, now I have another one to review:  Dukal Comb, baby, Ivory two-sided Dukal. They cost $45.11 for a case 864, so about a nickel a piece on the MDSupplies & Service's special Shoebox Shoppers order form.  MDSupplies & Services has helpfully made 
us who pack Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes a special order form of just items that can go in OCC shoeboxes...plus it has FREE SHIPPING!!!

 (Disclosure: post contains affiliate links & I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on them)

I thought these were pretty cute and would be fun for the 2-4 year old boxes. Overall, the comb was 5 3/4 inch and the comb part is 2 3/4 inch.  It was a

July Item of the Month for OCC Shoeboxes ~ Clothing

Samaritan's Purse has suggested items of the month for packing Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, and for July that is clothing.  Here in the USA, we can send any article of clothing we want, as long as it doesn't make the child look like a soldier (so, a green camouflage shirt is out).  I think the UK is only allowed to send certain things, so be sure to check your country's regulations before you send something!

“One of my favorites in my shoebox was white socks because in the orphanage you get bad quality socks that always stink and have holes in them.”
–Timur, Central Asia (OCC website)
Clothing can be quite useful, often these children don't have shoes or only torn clothes.  While this may be one of the more useful/practical items sent, it can also

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