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OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 12/22/2018 ~ Crafting and Washcloths

Got a chance to use a $5 off $15 coupon I'd gotten from Big Lots.  I really like their washcloths, they're bright and colorful, and look sturdy.  It also works out well in that they are $5 for 9, so I can just run into the store and pick up 3 packs and use the coupons, so 27 for $10 or 37 cents a piece.  Not the cheapest price, but good for the quality!!

My sister and mother have been busy sewing pencil and tote bags!

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $10.68
Saved $5 or 33%
Saved thru Big Lots coupon:  $5  

Scrap Busting January for OCC Shoeboxes

We will be crafting for our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes throughout the month of January 2019 using our scraps of fabric.

As my mom shows in the video below, the two main items we will be making are pencil pouches and book bags.  It is our goal to include one of each in every shoebox we pack along with school supplies.  We also want to make extras to have ready to donate if our church youth group or children's ministry do a packing party this year -- if not, we will save them for next year.  You can find tutorials for both here on our Crafting for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes page along with several other tutorials.

Chelle, from Chelle's CayBees, and Suzanne, from Sew Delightful, will be partnering with us.  Chelle will be crafting from her yarn stash for OCC and for Preemies of the Carolinas.  Suzanne will be crafting with fabric creating both sewn and no-sew projects.

A pillowcase dress sewn by Suzanne.

We want to invite all of you crafters to join us!  You can follow along on our Facebook pages to see our progress and what others are crafting and share your own completed items or work in progress.

Crocheted bears and bunnies by Chelle.

We will be crafting throughout the whole month of January so you can join us for a day, a week, or the whole month at your convenience!  What will you be crafting for Operation Christmas Child?

OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 12/7/2018 ~ Donations and Deals

We got a good amount of supplies for our shoebox packing supplies this week, but didn't spend much due to donations, clearance, and crafting!

Some friends picked us up some cars at Big Lots for us-Hot Wheels and pull back cars.

Got more of the Cow Bells on clearance at US Toy-$3.95 for a dozen here's the link for the orange ones, you can search for the other colors...really happy with them as musical toy!! 

My sister had to buy a couple gifts which came to $10, so used my $5 off $15 coupon to pick up washcloths for free.  Plus at a party $5 gift exchange she got a scarf she plans to pack in a shoebox.

Finally some great items crafted by my mother and sister:  pencil bagstote bag, and Aunt Ida Hats.

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $41.74 

Saved $110.40 or 72% through clearance 

OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ Starting on Next Year ~ 12/1/2018

So, it's never too early to get started on next year's shoebox prep! :)  So, even while we're cleaning up and cataloging from this year's packing party we've been getting ready for next year's.  I stopped by a charity thrift store.  Now we can't send used items, but  I found two games new in package, 2 unused coloring books, 4 model dinosaurs that don't look used at all, and an educational toy that's packaging is messed up, but insides look new (so I'll just re-package which I often do, anyways).
Stopped by Harbor Freight and used some coupons to  pick up some screw drivers to put in the 10-14 boy boxes for next year, we have a few of the sets of screws left that we put together last year that we can put with these.

My mom and sister have been busy crafting for our shoeboxes:  pencil bagstote bag, lovie blankets, and Aunt Ida Hats.

And, finally, here's a video of all the goodies we ordered online on Black Friday/Cyber Monday:

Final Pre-2018 OCC Packing Party Shoebox Stockpile Saturday

It's packing day, so just a quick post with a few photos of some of the items we've recently gotten to add to these shoeboxes we're packing!  First up some Dollar General Clearance.

Then LOTS of great crafts and more from our friends at Chelle's CayBees and family:

Some good deals at Bargin Hunt among other stores

We also got a donation from Sew Delightful.

2018 Family Packing Party

I don't think I'll have time to take photos and write a post about our family packing party this year, so I thought I'd share the link to the YouTub video I made showing the set-up.

Check out more about packing parties in these posts.

Dear Project Leaders...a Letter From Your Church Media Team

One of the authors of this blog works on her church's media team, so we felt  it might help you with promoting or dedicating shoeboxes in your church to share some ideas from the Media Team perspective, and help the media team to help you, if we wrote a letter of things we've wished guest speakers had know before they showed up on Sunday morning to share.

Dear OCC Promoter,

Hi!  We're glad you're planning to share at our church soon about your love of shoeboxes!!  To help it go smoother for you to promote OCC and  make easier for us we wanted to share a couple things.  You may not know who we are-we may be a paid professional with a professional grade system, a person with little tech experience-but a willing heart to help, a teenager who brings our own laptop every week, or anything in-between.  But no matter who we are, practically all of us would LOVE to hear from you a couple weeks before you share, so we can be ready to help you help the children!  If you don't know who we are, just ask the pastor or music minister for our contact info.  Or, you're welcome to come on back/up to our table/booth and see if we're available to chat...but after the service please, we're very busy during the service and often before with last minute preparations/problem-solving/changes/additions!  And please understand if we have to say something just won't work-we'll be disappointed, too!

Some things it would help us to know:
  • Who/how many people will be speaking? (We may have more than one microphone, but may need time to prepare it, or may have a specific microphone we need you to use, etc.)
  • Do you have any other sound needs? (Like a song, video, etc.  Keep in mind we may not have a tape player, or alternatively may not be able to play a digital file, but given enough time, we will try to find a work around!)
  • Do you want anything on the screens?  (Like a video, photos, presentation, website address, etc.)    If so, please get it to us at least a week ahead of time (so we can load it in our computer and try it out on the screens and let you know if we run into problems) and if possible check in with us before you put much time into planning/preparing your screen presentation. (This can be important because we may have to reformat whatever you have to make it compatible with our technology.  Like I mentioned above we may not have a VCR or DVD player, or that may be all we have and can't  play a digital file-or may need a specific format of a digital file.  We may not be able to run a PowerPoint, but have to import it to a different program that may lose some of your animation, so please check with us before you put too much time into it-we hate to have to mess up all the work you put into it!  Videos may work better for us to download a video from the website than play the DVD, or visa versa.   Or one format (widescreen or traditional) may work better for our church's screens/computer than another.  If you aren't familiar with technology we may be able to help you with downloading a video-especially the more time we have!  But we may or may not be able to pull the picture/video you want to share from a website due to copyright or technical issues-often online photos are too small to show up well on screen.)   
  • Do you want it recorded? (If the church records sermons it may be an option to record your presentation, or it may not, but feel free to ask if you need a video for something!)
  • Do you want anything special with lights? (Off during video, if we have colored lights, we might even be able to do a red and green color scheme, etc).
We may not only need time to prepare/program things, but some things we may need to get approved up the chain of command so to speak.  The more time you can give us, the more we'll be able to help you have a smooth presentation to keep the focus on the boxes and kids!  Thank you!!

In His Service,
Your Church Media Team

OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 9/29/2018 ~ A month's worth of supplies 87% off!

Haven't updated the blog in a while with my shoebox finds, so here's what I've found in the last month or so.  Was blessed to find some great deals on items we needed before packing!

This was back at Dollar General's 50% off clearance prices...looks like there's going to be "Lego" type bricks in our boxes this year!  ...which is great as I really liked Legos as a kid...well, maybe still do! ;)

Still a little short on socks this year, so picked this 3 pack up at a dollar store to check the quality/size.

Found some pens on clearance at Walgreens.

Freds seems to have started their annual clearance sale-only 50% off at the moment, but these socks were a good price-I'm keeping an eye out to see when they mark down to a lower price.

Got these on clearance at Hobby Lobby.  I thought they were mustache whistles like lip whistles, but they seem to more spin than make noise, so I'll just add them as a fun bonus.

A couple new coloring books from a thrift store.

I got a scanner coupon for Irish Spring at CVS, plus it was on sale w/ECBs back, so ended up getting it for like a quarter a bar instead of a dollar a bar!

I had been working hard at reviewing Office Depot Products and turning in ink cartridges (some I'd brought home when we changed the ink in the church sound board printer) to earn Office Depot Rewards, but hadn't seen any great deals like past years, so when they had a nice sale, I decided to stock up-managed to have enough rewards to get an order up to the free shipping minimum, plus found a 10% off coupon code online for more savings!  I was excited because I figured from what I saved it would work out to be like over $1 worth of items per shoebox we'll pack.

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $37.87 
Spent from Free Office Depot Rewards: $37.46 
Saved $257.89  or  87%

Saved thru clearance:  $55.67 
Saved through thrift store prices $1.50 
Saved through Office Depot Sale: $150.38
Saved through Office Depot Discount code:  $3.90

Saved through spending Office Depot Rewards: $37.46

Snapshots of Themed Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

Here's a snapshot of some of the shoeboxes I packed for Operation Christmas Child last year.

A fun frog themed box for a 10-14 year old boy.

I finally found a box to fit the balsam glider I misjudged the size of-haha!  

A fire and dog themed 5-9 boy shoebox.

10-14 girl box

Bunny and purple 10-14 girl shoebox.

My first soccer ball shoebox-this one for a 10-14 year old boy I believe.  

A very girly 10-14 year old girl box

Cat and bird themed 10-14 year old girl shoebox.

Yellow and duck themed shoebox for a 5-9 girl

Snowman themed 10-14 year old girl shoebox

A 2-4 year old girl shoebox with a very large stuffed animal-but managed to fit in a lot of other items!!

A very fancy/classy 10-14 girl shoebox. 

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

Penguin Themed Operation Christmas Child Shoebox for a Girls

One of my favorite themes when shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child is penguins.  I don't know why, maybe because I have a few times (you can see past penguin themed shoeboxes here) and I like traditions. :)   I actually ended up doing two in 2017.  This was the main one, for a 10-14 year old girl.

Here's some photos  of how  I got it to fit including the little tin that I made into a hygiene/hair fun things kit.

When we make a themed Operation Christmas Child shoebox, we don't leave out anything on our basic packing list-I still put in hygiene, school, and art supplies, clothing, whistle, etc as well as toys (including a ball and stuffed animal) with a family photo.  We just try to find versions of what we are putting in that goes with the theme and occasionally an extra item or two.

I also had found so much stuff, I packed a 5-9 girl box as well...don't have it photographed as well, but here's a look to give you an idea.

For more ideas/fun boxes, check out other shoeboxes we packed for girls or our themed boxes!

Get 300 bonus SB when you sign up for Swagbucks in September

All throughout September you can earn bonuses when sign up as my referral on Swagbucks.

Disclosure: Links to Swagbucks in this post are my referral links. I also earned SB for sharing this promotion.

I like to share about Swagbucks from time to time as I know a lot of people (myself included) have found it helpful to their personal or shoebox packing budgets, and I want to give other people the chance to find out about it.  Swagbucks is a rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for things you're probably doing online already, like searching the web, watching videos, shopping, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Walmart , or PayPal cash.  

When you sign up through me this month, you can earn a 300 SB bonus (which you can redeem for $3 worth of most gift cards)! Here's how: 

1. Sign up using this link 

2. Earn 300 SB total before October 1st, 2018. You'll get a 300 SB bonus for it! 

3. That's it. It's super easy, and Swagbucks is for real. I use it myself, and I've earned a lot of PayPal rewards to use on various things.
Disclosure:  Links to Swagbucks in this post are my referral links.  I also earned SB for sharing this promotion.  Thank you for using my links it helps me earn extra SB.  The extra SB helps me afford the time to write the blog and keep up the Facebook page.

Free Poster of Shoebox Item Ideas

A few years ago we made a post of ideas of things to pack in a shoebox.  It seems to have been quite popular.  We've seen it used as mini handouts for shopping ideas and blown up supper large as a poster.  With changes to banned items last year it needed updated.  I had dreams of a total re-design as a design person.  Well...I just really kept not having the time to do that, so I mainly just updated the items, here's the new one.  Please note, this is for the USA, other countries have different requirements.   Hopefully you'll find it helpful-feel free to use however you find helpful!!

If you have trouble printing it and and a PDF file of it would help, just email me at scribblingsarah at gmail dot com.

You can find shoebox supply collection posters thru this link:  Shoebox Printable Resources.

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