December 30, 2017

Final OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday of 2017

It's hard to believe this year is already coming to an end!  But these will be the last things I've added to my stockpile for packing shoeboxes in 2017.

I have my mom some shoeboxes items as a gift...mostly theme items for theme boxes she is working towards.


CVS had clearance 50% off, including toys.  I picked up these wooden trains as a WOW item for $5 each.  I checked and they will fit okay in the new plastic boxes:


I also hit Dollar Tree's 50% off, and picked up some fun things.  Jingle bells out of which to make necklaces.  Some fun pencils, and of course stuffed animals!  And some zippered plastic bags for when we take things out of packaging or bagging our crayon boxes in case they get too hot.


I also at Freds, got some holiday items at 50% off, and some other clearance at 75% off.  Loved finding leather gloves for the 10-14 boy boxes.

I was very excited that my grandparents picked up some of the Office Depot Clearance deals for our shoeboxes, plus a couple other goodies. 






Someone from church also gave me some things they had gotten for shoeboxes, but decided to have me use instead.




Spent from shoebox packing budget: $46.09 
Saved $64.57 or  58% (plus at least that much again through donations!)

Saved thru clearance:  $61.57 
Saved through CVS email coupon: $3  

December 27, 2017

Train Themed Operation Christmas Child Shoebox for a Boy Ages 5-9

When I pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, I like to try to make them as personal as possible so even if I pick a good number, I don't lose sight of the individual child for whom I'm packing it.  One way I try to make them personal is through themes.  This was a very special theme one I did this, trains for a boy between 5 & 9 years of age.


It all started when I found a battery operated train set, new in package at a thrift store for $1.  I sent a couple sets of batteries, but I think it'll still be fun after the batteries run out.  Then I made a theme out of it!  I had quite a bit of fun with it!   I had a crocheted hat that looked like conductor colors, then found an actual toy conductor hat!  My mom made a Simple Lined Drawstring Bag out of train cloth that I used as a pencil case.  I also had a train whistle and a plastic whistle shaped like a train.  I used a normal shoebox-found one that the train fit just right in the bottom of.   It was 350 cubic inches compared to a cardboard OCC GO Box that is 306, so pretty close in size.  Plus, I was able to use wrapping paper that had trains on it along with some cars.

 This theme was special to me as over the years our family history is pretty full of trains!  I don't think we have any engineers, but have, over the generations, had brakemen, linemen, conductors, workers in the shops-including a master mechanic, and someone who owned land that had stations built on it.  I was trying to decide on a stuffed animal and I found this Irish/St Patrick's Day bear-PERFECT since the first train worker in our family was an Irish immigrant who built train lines, and I doubled down on it with Irish Spring soap-haha!

Often people find it helpful to see how I pack the box to fit everything in, so here's some photos of that...plus a cute train from the wrapping paper.

For more ideas/fun boxes, check out other shoeboxes we packed for 5-9 boys or our themed boxes!

December 18, 2017

Swago: Holiday Shopping Edition Is Back! (US)



The holidays are here and the online rewards site Swagbucks has a smart and fun way for you to earn and save while you spend.

Swagbucks is hosting another round of Shopping Swago! What is SWAGO you ask? It's
a bingo-inspired promotion run by Swagbucks, a website that rewards you with points (called SB) for completing everyday online activities. You can redeem those SB for free gift cards. If you've never used Swagbucks, participating in SWAGO is a great introduction to the site and an easy way to earn a good amount of points quickly.

If you've been thinking about trying out Swagbucks, now may be a good time, because they're offering a special reward:   If you sign up through me this month, you'll get a $10 rebate when you make your first purchase via Swagbucks Shopping! You can activate it in the "Swag Ups" area of "My Account"  (Swag-ups credit when you redeem your SB for rewards)

Click here to get started!
Here’s what you need to know to get your 300 SB ($3) Bonus (and don’t worry, you don’t have to make a purchase to complete a pattern):
  • Shop Swago will begin on Monday, December 18th at 9am PT/12pm ET, make sure you hit “Join” otherwise you won’t get credit for completing the action items. Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete.
  • Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change color signifying the action item is complete.
  • You have a limited amount of time to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely.
  • Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value - up to 300 SB - enough for your first $3 gift card.
  • Once you’ve achieved a pattern the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely.
  • The game ends Friday, December 22nd at 12pm PDT/3pm EDT. So make sure to hit “Submit” on the pattern you wish to submit. If you don’t hit “Submit” before the game ends you won’t receive your SB bonus.
Disclosure:  Links to Swagbucks in this post are my referral links.  Thank you for using my links.  I also earned SB for sharing this promotion.

December 16, 2017

Saved about 90% on OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 12/16/2017

We finally got all of our Cyber Monday order-notebooks for a quarter, compasses for 50 cents, and a building toy for a dollar!




I also found socks buy 1 get 3 free at Might Dollar-so 4 for a dollar!  They're really cute and fun!  They are fold over dress socks like I had when I was a little girl, but with little flower or butterful bead charms.  Plus a couple other things.





I also got some bar soap free after coupons (love having $6/$3 email coupons when I have other items to get) and ECBs.





 I also ordered from EAI education after seeing it suggested on the Pencil Granny Facebook page.  Got a few fun things to try out-I think I'll do a review post.





My mom and sister have also been getting crafting done, and I haven't been keeping up on sharing photos!  Hats and tote bags!





Spent from shoebox packing budget: $37.27 

Spent from gift cards earned or won online: $31 

Saved $538.98 or 89%

Saved thru Buy 1 Get 3 sale:  $27 
Saved through CVS deals: $11.98 
Saved through Hollar Black Friday deals: $500  

...plus the un-calculated savings through crafting!



December 11, 2017

Operation Christmas Child Shoebox for 10-14 Year Old Girl- 2017

Here's one of the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes I packed for a 10-14 year old girl this year.  As with most of my boxes, it ended up having a theme-not a planned on, it just came together that way.  It was fall/Thanksgiving-my favorite time of year and holiday!  I used a normal shoebox, that was 386 cubic inches compared to a cardboard OCC GO Box that is 306, so pretty close in size.  The wrapping paper was red with starts-great for both holidays! 




If you'd like ideas for other ages be sure to check out my posts on OCC shoeboxes from this year for: Girl 2-4Boy 2-4Girl 5-9, Boy 5-9, & 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
        • 1-Gel
        • 1-Orange
      • Pencils
        • 5-regular
        • 3-decorative 
      • Sharpener 
      • Erasers  
      • Spiral notebook 
      • Protractor
      • Pencil Bag 
    • Art/craft supplies Supplies:
      • Colored pencils
      • Spirograph type toy/stencil/ruler
      • Sketch book
      • Mini plane paper pad
      • Stationary Kit
        • Stickers
        • Cards
        • Paper
        • Envelopes
      • Tape measure
      • Cross stitch kit
      • Bead kit
    • Practical items: 
      • Tote bag
      • Water bottle
      • Flashlight
      • Sewing kit
    • Clothes:
      • Gloves
      • Socks
      • Hair clips/bows
      • Jewelry
    • Toys 
      • To play noisily or others
        • Marbles
        • Wood tower game
        • Apples to Apples
        • Mini flute
        • Mini ball 
      • To play with quietly alone
        • BB mazes
        • Top
        • Yo-yo
        • Key chain
        • To "love"
          • Stuffed Turkey** 
          • Doll *
      • Personal correspondence (not pictured)
        • Family photo 
        • Letter
      I know one of the harder things for me in packing a shoebox is getting everything I want to send to fit, and sometimes it helps to see how it fits, so here's some photos of how it all fit (for more ideas on making things fit, check out my making it fit series:



      Here are more examples of shoeboxes for 10-14 year old girls if you're looking for more ideas!

      December 9, 2017

      OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~12/9/2017

      I stopped at CVS and got a couple toothbrushes free after coupons and ECBs, and the 7 in 1 game set was on sale for $6.99, and I had a $6 off $30 coupon, and since I was picking up some other things, I got it for $0.99!!  What a great WOW item!!  I put the chess pieces in an organza bag we'd been given recently for shoeboxes-all 7 games fit the case decorated to look like a domino that should fit great in a shoebox!








      While my sister and I were out shopping for last minute things for the youth packing party, I found this spirograph type ruler-fun!


      We also got our order from ToysRUs.  There'd been a problem with an earlier item we'd ordered, and had a coupon code, plus a sale on Black Friday, so we stocked up on wooden puzzles for the boxes we pack for the littlest kids





      Spent from shoebox packing budget: $1.58 

      Spent from gift cards earned or won online: $29.46 


      Saved through coupons:  $23 

      Saved through sales: $19.48   

      December 2, 2017

      Thanksgiving Holiday OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 11/25 & 12/2/2017 ~ Saved over 50%

      I skipped posting last week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, so this week's post has a couple week's worth of stockpiling...and it's a lot because online orders with holiday codes came in!


      I stopped by Office Depot on my way home from church, and got all these pencils...a great start for next year!  (for info on the deal and looking for the stock at your store, see my earlier post Office Depot Pencil Clearance)

      We picked up a  few of the Hotwheel 5 packs Buy One Get One Free!  ...50 cents a car, not bad!



      In going through/organizing some of my gift/letter-writing, etc stash getting ready for the holidays, I found some things that we could send in shoeboxes.   Also a couple sewn ornaments my grandmother had received over the years.



      Decided to get ahead on our photos for next year, so took advantage of penny prints at Walgreens.

        I stopped by Bargain Hunt and was able to got some great deals....the kite was compare at $12, I got it for 60 cents!!! So exciting!


      Here's my order from US Toy.  A lot of repeat things, plus some new things to try...pretty pleased...hope to post a review of it soon as I get time!


      And here's my order from Kipp Brothers a few re-stocks from last year, and some new things-really excited about some, some okay, a couple not so great, hope to do a review soon, to share to maybe help others decide what to order!  I used a Black Friday/Cyber Monday code, but I think there is also one for shoeboxers...check out Shoebox Shopper's Facebook page.


      My sister got some unused stuffed animals at a local thrift store.


      We went back to Bargain Hunt for some holiday shopping, and I found this-compare at $3, spent 60 cents!  So cute!


      We stopped by Office Depot and found LOTS of eraser caps packages for 14 cents! Plus some nice pencil cases for 44 cents, and rulers for 24 cents.  If anyone wants to check BrickSeek for the possible stock in their local store, here's the UPCs/Item numbers:




      Spent from shoebox packing budget: $238.60 
      Saved $254.28 or 52 %

      Saved thru clearance:  $241.62
      Saved through BOGO deals: $10
      Saved through photo discount code: $16
      Saved through Black Friday % off codes: $48.26
      Saved through "Bargain Hunting":  $38.40
      Plus, not figured in to these numbers is the fact I used Office Depot Rewards Points for both Office Depot shopping trips.

      December 1, 2017

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

      This was a really fun Operation Christmas Child shoebox for me to pack this year for an 5-9 year old boy.  Early in the year I found a racing themed coloring book for 50 cents, and so began a theme!  I do love themed boxes...see more of my themed boxes here.  This shoebox was 382 inches cubed, for comparison, a GO box is 306 inches cubed, so it's reasonably close in size.  I wanted a wrapped on since I had Cars wrapping paper.
      5 to 9 year old OCC shoebox


      If you'd like ideas for other ages be sure to check out my posts on OCC shoeboxes from this year for: Girl 2-4Boy 2-4, Girl 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
            • 5-regular
            • 3-decorative 
          • Sharpener
          • Small decorative erasers
          • Eraser  
          • Spiral notebook 
          • Tape measure
        • Art Supplies:
          • Crayons
          • Stickers
          • Large coloring book
          • Pad of plain paper 
          • Cars Maze
          • Practical items: 
            • Pencil bag
            • Drawstring backpack *
            • Water bottle
          • Clothes:
            • Gloves
            • Flipflops
            • Swim Goggles
            • Cars Ring
          • Toys 
            • To play noisily or others
              • 3 Race-car themed Hotwheels 
              • Frog hopper game
              • Marbles
              • Racing Peg game
              • Balls
                • Mini 
                • Inflatable 
                • Fun-house 
              • Frisbees
              • Whistle
              • Mini Apples-to-Apples game
            • To play with quietly alone
              • Race go kart**
              • 6 Race driver/crew figures
              • 3 Dinosaur figurines 
              • 1 Turtle figurine
              • Cars keychain
              • Cars top
            • To "love"
              • Stuffed Bear with goggles and scarf like an old time car driver** 
          • Personal correspondence (not pictured)
            • Family photo 
            • Letter

          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.


          I thought the back of the coloring book was neat-it was a fold out sticker scene, but also kind of fit the Hotwheel-haha!

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

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