November 30, 2017

Westcott Kids 5" Scissors from MDSupplies & Services Review ~ Great for OCC Shoeboxes

Scissors are a great thing to include as part of the school supplies or a tool/sewing kit in our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. (Disclosure: post contains affiliate links & I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on them)  When MDSupplies & Service's special Shoebox Shoppers order form was first offered, I thought of it just for hygiene cases, but there are also other items including scissors!


If you're unfamiliar with MDSupplies & Services, they have helpfully made for us who pack for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes a special order form of just items that can go in OCC shoeboxes...plus it has FREE SHIPPING!!!



Now to review the scissors, there are two different kinds to pick from: Kids 5" Pointed Scissors, Bulk (42515) and Kids 5" Blunt Scissors, Bulk (42516).  They are pretty much the same other than the tips, so I'll review them together.  If you pack a large number of boxes, this may be the option for you.  You buy them in cases of 700 for $525, which works out to $0.75 a piece.

I tested them cutting a variety of materials: paper, the cardboard backing of their packaging, and fabric:


I thought it cut them all just fine.  Obviously the cardboard was harder to cut, but certainly reasonable.  I was actually pleasantly surprised at how well it cut the fabric.  Obviously, with the shorter blade it's not a true pair of fabric scissors, but certainly usable in a sewing kit!



The one downside to the scissors is their handles are rather small, but usable, and wouldn't be as big a deal for children as to me as an adult.

I hope this review helps someone...if you have any further questions, please just ask and you may want to check out the rest of my MD Supplies & Services Reviews for items appropriate for packing in Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

Disclaimer I received these products free to review, but the opinions are all my own.  Links in this post to MDSupplies & Services are affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

November 28, 2017

Operation Christmas Child Shoebox for 5-9 Year Old Girl - 2017

We don't often pack many Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes for girls age 5-9, because that's the group that gets the most boxes packed for it, but this year we did pack a few, and here's one my sister packed.  You can see lots of handmade goodies in this one that others shared with us!

If you'd like ideas for other ages be sure to check out my posts on OCC shoeboxes from this year for: Girl 2-4, Boy 2-4, Boy 5-9, Girl 10-14, & Boy 10-14 (will be updated with links as I post those boxes, until I do, here's a link to all the shoebox examples posts). 


NOTE: Different countries have different restrictions on what can be packed in an Operation Christmas Child shoebox due to customs-no candy or toothpaste in the USA going forward.  Be sure to check the guidelines from your national organization before packing!


What went into the OCC shoebox gift (Items with ** are on the list of "Wow" items):

  • Hygiene Supplies:
  • School Supplies:
      • Pens
        • 1-Red
        • 1-Blue
        • 1-Black
      • Pencils
        • 2-regular
        • 2-decorative 
      • Sharpener
      • Eraser  
      • Composition book
      • Protractor
      • Tape measure
    • Art Supplies:
      • Markers
      • Large coloring book
      • Pad of plain paper 
      • Spirograph type tool
      • Practical items: 
      • Outfit**:
        • Dress
        • Bracelet
        • Hair pins
        • Lace for hair
        • Cars Ring
      • Toys 
        • To play noisily or others
          • Ball
          • Whistle
          • Mini Apples-to-Apples game
          • Hotwheel
          • Maraca
          • Mini Clacker
        • To play with quietly alone
          • Gorilla 3D puzzle
          • BB maze
          • Top
          • Mini Turtle
          • Mini dinosaurs 
          • Cow Keychain 
        • Special
          • Rose
        • To "love"
          • Stuffed animal** 
      • Personal correspondence (not pictured)
        • Family photo 

      I know sometimes one of the hard things of packing shoeboxes is making things fit, so here's some photos I took of how it all packed in the box.


      Here are more examples of 5- 9 girl boxes we've packed.

      November 27, 2017

      Huge Cash Back deals during the Swagbucks Cyber Monday Sale!

      You can earn money while saving it on all your big Cyber Monday purchases, or small things you're picking up for shoeboxes!  The Cashback Shopping site Swagbucks is offering big cash back - 3x or more - at over 120 different stores today only. They're also offering big payouts on a varieties of different deals and offers from companies that would make great gift ideas, also ones that are good for stocking up for shoeboxes like Amazon. Get great deals without waiting in lines or even leaving your home!

      If you're not familiar with Swagbucks, they offer cash back in the form of points when you shop. Then you can turn those points into gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, or PayPal cash. You can also earn points for discovering deals, watching videos, answering surveys and more!  This is great for getting some extra money to spend on shoeboxes! 

      Click here to take advantage of the cash back, just create your Swagbucks account when prompted (it takes less than 30 seconds) and then you're all set! 

      As a special bonus, if you sign up through me you get a 300 SB ($3) bonus when you earn your first 300 SB before December 1st! This site's a great way to extend your shopping budget, especially around the holidays!

      Disclosure: Links in this post are my personal referral links.  I also earned Swagbucks for sharing this post, but all opinions are my own.

      November 20, 2017

      Office Depot Pencil Clearance

      I stopped at Office Depot on the way home from church and found a good deal on pencils, so thought I'd share to help others maybe get it.


      These 12 packs were 43 cents.  You can check UPC 735854906979 or Item # 425-164 at BrickSeek to get an idea of their probable price and availability at your local store.  These are one of the brands of pencils we checked in our pencil review post.


      I also found this pencil sharpener:

      It was 23 cents, you can see the from the above photo, the UPC is 735854027100 if you want to check BrickSeek.

      The best part is we were able to use Office Depot rewards for things we'd bought earlier in the year and turning in used ink cartridges.

      EDIT:  Adding this photo of more UPCs I found good deals on:

      November 18, 2017

      Shopping During Drop-off Week for OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 11/18/2017 ~Saved about 90%

      My week of shopping for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes started on the way home from church, I stopped at a Dollar General to pick up a Thanksgiving card for my great aunt, and found a good deal on some clothes, 30 or 60 cents.  


      Later in the week, I saw about a deal on shoes at Dollar General, so my sister and I stopped after volunteering at the local drop-off center.  We got a good number of originally $5-$10 shoes for 10 or 20 cents.  Was excited to get a start on next year's shoeboxes...although if you saw my post earlier this week about one more shoebox, you'll know they didn't all get saved for next year-haha!

      Later in the day we were able to run by a couple more stores and find some more.  My Dad is pretty much set for shoes for his 10-14 boy boxes.



      Then our order from Amazon for harmonicas came in.  I'd seen someone recommend them, and they seem nice and colorful.

      That's about 90% off retail due to: 
      Spent from shoebox budget: $30.72

      Saved through buying in bulk: $47.89
      Saved with clearance, about: $225 (best guess, didn't look at all original prices for the shoes and clothes, but they were $3-$10 and I got 36 pairs of shoes and four pieces of clothing)


      November 16, 2017

      Last Minute Shoebox

      What do you do when you realize your church is going to drop off 499 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes at drop-off centers during collection week? Well, if you're really into organization/evenness you and your sister pack one more the night before you go to volunteer at a drop-off center to make it an even 500!


      Thankfully we had some extras left from last year, plus some things we'd started picking up for next year, it worked out just fine packing from our shoebox stockpile.  We went through our packing list and were able to get things from all categories, and end up with a nice, full, fun box...I like every box to be great, and I feel it lived up to our standards, even though it wasn't planned!


      This shoebox ended up being for a 5-9 boy so we could use the water shoes we'd got at Dollar General this week for $0.10.  Check out other 5-9 boy boxes we've packed!

      November 13, 2017

      Removing Packaging to Fit In a Go Box through Operation Christmas Child

      One of the things I struggle with when packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child is being able to send everything I would like to in the box.  In the past I've sometimes packed larger boxes, but the more I've learned the more I realized the importance of using normal sized boxes, the more I worked on learning more ways to get things to fit.  One of the biggest things I've learned is to remove packaging.  This also helps reduce trash int he receiving countries (which often don't have good infrastructure), and opening tricky containers

      If you left all the items above in their packaging, they'd fill the giant silver boot box...which is a bit too big!  I'm not even sure the big box would fit in the shipping carton.


      Here's what went in from the different categories:

      November 11, 2017

      Saved Almost 75% for OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 11/11/2017

      While our shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child are pretty much packed for this year, I'm already getting started preparing for next year, so I took advantage of Dollar General's Buy 1 Get 1 Free Hotwheels/Matchbox deal.  Not as good as B1G2 last year, so I didn't buy too many in case they do that deal, later.  I bought 30, enough to use the $3 off $15 coupon I'd gotten for taking a survey...but for some reason it only took $1.94 off...still a savings.  I tried to pick as many different kinds as possible, also colorful ones.


      I got some samples from MDSupplies & Service's special Shoebox Packer's order formI've been doing some reviews (you can check them out here)  of their products, and any extras left over after I test them, I've been able to include in my boxes.  We'll start using the toothbrushes soon.  As you may have seen on my other toothbrush reviews, I like to try them a while to see how they hold up.


      I picked up this board book for a 2-4 box.


      I'm planning a peacock themed box next year, so was excited to find this mask on clearance!  It also got me the survey I took for the $3/$15 I mentioned earlier.


      I found an $1 off 2 packs of Dial coupon in a newspaper insert, so I used it at Dollar Tree to get 6 bars of soap for $1!


      Finally, my order from Oriental Trading Company came in...this is especially exciting as it only took $3.23 of my shoebox budget!!  Had a promotional gift card from a mailing, plus a couple things on clearance.  Then I waited for a free shipping code  Yay for deals to put more smiles on kid's faces!  I found this original instructions for Barrel of Monkeys...although my understanding is these off-brand have flatter arms and may not work as well, I may put the instructions in with some: https://www.hasbro.com/common/instruct/BarrelofMonkeys.PDF





      Spent from shoebox packing budget: $20.12

      That's almost 75% off retail due to:
      Spent from gift cards earned, won online, promotional in mail: $20
      Saved with coupons: $2.94 (plus free shipping from OT)
      Saved with sales: $15
      Saved with clearance: $12

      November 7, 2017

      Earn Double Cash Back for Online Shopping thru Swagbucks 2017 Holiday Sale


      We often find it convenient to shop online for our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes as well as for ourselves.  By going thru a cash-back site we can have more money to pack more shoeboxes.  One of the places we use is Swagbucks.  A current promotion at Swagbucks is their offering of double cash back at dozens of different stores (like Macy's, Kohls and Ebay) during their 2017 Holiday Sale. Just go to this page to see all of the deals available and get the jump on your holiday shopping while earning cash back for shoebox packing (or shipping).

      In order to take advantage of the cash back you have to have a Swagbucks account--it's free and easy to sign up.  Just create your Swagbucks account when prompted

      November 6, 2017

      Organization of Crafting Wish Lists for 2018 Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

      Sarah has done such a great job shopping the last couple of years for our shoeboxes that we have packed more than expected.  If this is to continue for the 2018 Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing year I need to get my crafting in full gear!  I decided to try to get super organized so I can sew hundreds of things for our shoeboxes for 2018.  Thankfully I have 85% of what I need to craft with.  I will need to buy some supplies, but I have a big chunk of it on hand.

      2 to 4 year old girl Operation Christmas Child shoebox
      My 2 to 4 year old OCC shoeobxes awaiting rubber bands.
      As we've shared before, we have four packers in our family and we have assigned one age to each person.  I do the 2 to 4 year old girl shoeboxes, Sarah does the 10 to 14 year old girls, my husband does the 10 to 14 year old boys and his cousin (who is more like a sister to him and an aunt to Sarah) is in charge of the 2 to 4 year old boys.  I sent an email asking for their wishlist for hand made items for their

      November 4, 2017

      OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 11/4/2017

      We got some great donations this week!  First some great dresses to finish up our 2-4 girl boxes!


      Then some friends were cleaning out some of their stash and we got some fun stuff-trim, and some organza bags that we'd just been saying we needed!




      November 2, 2017

      Organizing Hat Crocheting Supplies for Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Packing Party

      First hats Elizabeth has made towards the 200 shoebox packing party.  She uses Aunt Ida's hat pattern from Joy with Purpose.


      My oldest daughter is crocheting hats for a new OCC packing party Sarah has been invited to help host.  The goal is to collect enough stuff for 200 boxes.  They are trying to do it all thru donations and hope to even gather extras to donate as fillers.  We will donate much of our leftover stockpile from this year's shoebox packing, but Elizabeth wanted to do something more and decided to see how many hats she can

                   
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