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Last Pre-packing Day OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 9/30/2017

We're planning our family packing party for next Saturday, so this may be the last stockpiling week before packing...now time to get busy with final preparations!   

We got a GREAT crafting donation!  Lots of handmade goodies, plus some bonus items!

I got my order from MDSupplies & Service's special Shoebox Shoppers order form, the rest of the needed toothbrush and soap cases.

Got a cute stuffed animal with it's tag still on for 50 cents from a charity thrift store.

And picked up some clearance school supplies from CVS for 75% off!

Also got some good clearance at Dollar General. 

Spent from Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing budget: $51.04

Crafting Fillers for Donations at Operation Christmas Child Processing Center

Five ways to donate handcrafted items to Operation Christmas Child.

For those of us who love to craft and love to share, Operation Christmas Child is a perfect fit for our passion.  There are many handmade items which can be included in shoeboxes for kids in need.  If we craft more than we can pack in our shoeboxes, or even if we would rather not pack a personal shoebox at all, but would love to craft items for the cause, there are ways to donate our crafted goods to be included

Hopping Frog Game Printable for OCC Shoeboxes

I always like to include games in Operation Christmas Child shoeboxs.  I like to give them something fun to play with, plus with a game they can play with others. I try to find ones with simple instructions or very common/universal like checkers.  I'd seen some hopping/jumping frog games, but hadn't found a good price on them, then I found some frogs at a really good price ($4 for a gross at Kipp Brothers), but no instructions, or anything to really make it a game, so I got to work.   I made printable instructions and game boards.  The game boards are half paper sized so they can either be printed on card-stock (and even laminated) and laid in the bottom of even a Go Box and the frogs tucked in elsewhere. Or the boards can be folded in half in a zippered plastic bag with the frogs.

Here are the printable sheets...you should be able to print each full sized on normal paper.

Donations for OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 9/23/2017

Our Operation Christmas Child stash got significantly bigger this week! :)   But some of it will take a bit of work before we send it...
Inherited fabric for sewing for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

Fabric stash organization.

Yay for inherited fabric!   This is our fabric stash organization for just the NEW fabric...I think we need to get sewing! :)

Cross stitch kits to include in Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.
There were also a few little cross stitching kits!  Excited to put them in my 10-14 girl shoeboxes this year! 

Yo-yos and pencil sharpeners.
My aunt got some yo-yos and pencil sharpeners that can sharpen the thicker colored pencils I got for the younger kids' shoeboxes.

Library tote bags sewn for Operation Christmas Child.
My mom and sister also sewed 11 fat quarter tote bags.

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $0

Thankfully this week between donations and crafting our additions to our stockpile didn't cost anything, but that is not always the case of course.  If you are interested, you may like to read how we find extra money for packing Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

Kite Tail While Sewing to Save Time ~ Sewing Tips & Techniques

I am always looking for ways to save time while sewing for my Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.  The faster I go, the more items I can make and the more children I can share with.  Over twenty years ago I saw a tip on a t.v. show that the host called "kite tailing."  It is like making a kite tail--you know, a string with fabric pieces tied every so often.  Basically you do not stop sewing between pieces of a project, or when doing "mass sewing," that is making several of the same

Fat Quarter Library Bag Pattern & Illustrated Tutorial

Reversible Fat Quarter Library Bag designed for an Operation Christmas Child shoebox.

A small Library Bag with wide handles is the perfect tote bag to include in an Operation Christmas Child shoebox.  It will roll up and tuck in without taking up much room and the handles will be useful in many cultures where the bags are carried on the head.  In other cultures they can be thrown over a shoulder or carried by hand.

The Fat Quarters Library Bag I designed for my shoeboxes is made from two fat quarters.  One for the outer fabric and one for the lining. The way I designed the bag it is completely reversible.  This way the child can choose their favorite side or

OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 9/16/2017

My Dad & I both got a chance to double check CVS's 75% off clearance for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

Workbooks and coloring books from CVS 75% off clearance to pack in Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.
Dad found lots of activity books I'd missed somehow-haha!

CVS clearance shopping for OCC shoebox packing.
And I found these t-shirts and dishcloths I'd missed (or maybe they had in back, and just got put out).  Also the Lakers pads and pens I'd passed on because we're Cleveland fans, and I didn't think my family would be in to them, then I got thinking they'd make great fillers for Pencil Granny and Friends.  Operation Christmas Child says they have an urgent need for school supply fillers.

School supply pencil packet for Operation Christmas Child filler donation.

I made one up for a test...I think it turned out pretty cute!!  I'm waiting to make the rest until after we pack our shoeboxes and see what all we have left.

We always include stuffed animals in our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

My sister also found these like-new stuffed animals for 50 cents a piece from a local thrift store-some still had tags on!!  We include a stuffed animal in each Operation Christmas Child shoebox we pack.

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $26.96

Wondering what type of box to pack in?  Check out our post:  What Kind of Box to Use for packing an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox.

Printable Instructions for Building 3D Dinosaur Puzzles from H&J Closeouts

3d dinosaur puzzles from H&J Closeouts - how to build instructions.

I bought a number of cute 3D dinosaur puzzles to pack Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes and thought they might be more enjoyable for the kids with an idea what they were trying to make and how to make it.  So I made up some simple instructions, and thought I'd share them here in-case others bought them from H&J Closeouts when they were available from them-they're out of stock now, but there are lots of other cool shoebox items available.  Below are the instructions and completed images I made.  You should be able to print them full sized on normal printer paper.  I'll probably print them front and back (instructions one side, completed other side) in black and white.  Here they are:

September Item of the Month for OCC Shoeboxes ~ Games

Samaritan's Purse has suggested items of the month for packing Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, and for September that means games!  How fun!  Be sure to check your sending country regulations, because I think some countries due to specific recipient countries have limits on traditional playing cards, dice, and/or dominoes, but from the USA all of those are find and I've sent them.

One thing I really like about games is that they can be shared, and bring people together.  Some of my fondest memories of time with extended family is around a game or puzzle.

Operation Christmas Child shared the following story on their Facebook page in 2013
“My 11-yr-old stepson received a Christmas box. He received a lot of goodies and other presents. Among them was an UNO game. Every night, we gather for dinner and after that play UNO. What makes me happier is that my 22-yr-old daughter used to have dinner in her room, and barely shared with us. Thanks to the unknown donor, she comes out every evening, has dinner and playes with us. I pray for all of you, thank the Lord for people like you and especially bless that special person who maybe didn’t know that s/he was helping a family in Panama to get closer and pray together.” 

I try to pick simpler games, ones that are common around the world, and/or ones that contain things I think would be easy to make up one's own game for.  Often there are people at the distributions who can help the kids learn how to use them, but just in case not, I try to go simpler.

If you're worried about how to fit a puzzle in your box without taking up too much room, check out my recent post: Fitting a puzzle in an OCC Go Shoebox.

If' you'd like to craft a game, we have DIY instructions for a few different options:
Both of the tic-tac-toe DIY instructions, also have printable instructions on how to play to send with the game.

Photos Courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse.

Dial for a Dime Deal ~ Great For Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

It's BACK!!!!   Dial is once again offering printable coupons!  Print it as soon as you can, they've only been available a short time each month.  I've been getting on Dial Soap for my Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

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

CVS Clearance Shopping for OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 9/9/2017

I only shopped at CVS this week for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, but after hitting multiple CVS stores with summer & Dollar Days both 75% off I got A LOT of stuff: 221 items (many of which were multi-packs, so actually more! (over $350 worth)  Plus a great variety!  Practical stuff like T shirts and  sewing kits and fun stuff like coloring books and jacks!  I really needed the T shirts for the older boys, so really excited about that!

OCC shoebox items from CVS clearances shopping.

Here's some up-close shots:

CVS Summer Clearance for Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing.

CVS Dollar Days Clearance

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $88.05

We have shared several ideas on Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Stockpile Organization if you are interested in seeing ways we keep or goodies until packing time.

Mini Blanket Fleece Lovey with Crochet Edging Tutorial ~ Made for an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox

Crochet Edge Fleece Lovey Blanket tutorial. Perfectly sized for an Operation Christmas Child shoebox.

One thing I love to include in my Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes is a bitty blanket lovey.  I read a story once of a child Samaritan's Purse came upon in a worn torn country hiding in the back of a pick up truck and she was clinging to a small piece of cloth.  I hope that a fleece lovey with a crochet edging may bring comfort to a child

Last Minute Shopping for OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 9/2/2017

I had a pretty week getting some of the last things I need to be ready for Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing...the time is drawing near! ;) 

Filler items for Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing.

I got some more of the primary composition books I like to have to include in the 2-4 year old boxes, also some fun little bonuses.

CVS Clearance shopping for Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing.

Got some great deals at CVS's 50% off Dollar Spot clearance. 

Pencil sharpeners for large pencils.

Got a few 2 hole pencil sharpeners  for the thick pencils I got recently, my aunt reported she got some, too, so we should be set!

Also, I got 3 of the pencil sharpeners at Office Depot, but forgot to take a photo of it-haha!   I used rewards from previous purchases, so it didn't take any money out of pocket, you can learn more here.

Each Saturday I share the additions to our stockpile.  You can see all of them here:  Adding to Our Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Stockpile. 

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