January 30, 2018

A Doll and Her "Own" Shoebox Themed OCC Shoebox for a Girl 10-14 Years Old

 

We often like to use traditional shoeboxes to pack for Operation Christmas Child, but some are just too small to send...one was so small I got the idea to pack a doll, and the mini shoebox inside a more normal sized box, so the girl and her doll could both have a shoebox!  With the doll theme I was excited to have a bag sewn out of doll/girl fabric.





When I do a theme box, what that means to me is while I stick to my normal list of things to include, I try to find versions of those items that fit the theme.  I may add an extra unique item or two, but on the whole it's the same list, just different types.  My basic list for those interested is:
  • Hygiene supplies (soap & casetoothbrush & case; washcloth; comb)
  • School supplies (lined paper, pens, pencils, sharpener, eraser, ruler, etc.)
  • Art supplies (crayons, watercolors, and/or colored pencils; plain paper and/or coloring book; stickers, etc.)
  • Ball
  • Stuffed Animal
  • Toy
  • Game
  • Something to wear
  • Whistle
  • Some sort of container (maybe a bag or tin)
  • And a family photo (not pictured below) 


Often people find it helpful to see how the box is packed to fit everything in, so here's some photos of how these items fit in the shoebox:


And how the mini box was packed.  I tried to mirror some of the girl's items in the "doll's" box, like washcloths-full sized and mini, notebooks of different sizes, rulers, etc.


For more ideas/fun boxes, check out other shoeboxes we packed for 10-14 year old girls or our themed boxes!

January 29, 2018

Walmart Deals for Shoeboxes

A lot of people who shop year round for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes have been reporting finding good deals on items at WalMart.  I thought I'd share the Brickseek links for as many of the items people have been getting as I can to help others find them.  For those unfamiliar with Brickseek, it is a service that attempts to track  inventory and prices at stores.  It's not foolproof, but it is a good way to get an idea of stock and prices before one heads to the store.  You should be able to just put in your zip-code in each link and get an idea of what deals you may find at your local store.  Remember to be kind and understanding as it may not have the stock or price you expect.  And utilizing the in-store price scanners (and maybe app) can be helpful, too!  I've also heard that if your's aren't down today, check after Feb. 1st.

Check out my new, regularly updated post:

January 27, 2018

OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 1/27/2018 ~ Hard to Beat 90% off

Fred's stores are having 90% off clearance, and I went a couple times and got some fun stuff to pack in Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes!

The penguin was too cute!  A pair of shin-guard socks which I hope to put with a soccer ball. And a couple packs of note-cards-9 cents each, to split up among older girl boxes.







The other trip to Freds led to more shinguard socks, stuffed animal, plus a couple other fun items.  I thought I could string the bells on yarn or ribbon or include with jewelry making kits. I normally don't include Playdough, but the workers knew I shopped for kids and were so excited about it I bought one-haha!




 I picked up some fishing supplies at a closing store from which to make kits for the older boys.



Also, got in some little mending kits I'd bought from AliExpress plus some bonus needles.  I'm planning the mending kits for older boys and needles to make sewing kits for the older girls. I bought them when they were running a deal.

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $10.54 
Saved $47.23  or   80%

Saved thru 90% clearance:  $41.69
Saved through closing store deals: $3.93
Saved through AliExpress deals: $1.61  

January 23, 2018

Size of OCC Shoebox Items

As another year of shopping for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes begins, it's time to think about what we're buying.  We make lists.  We also have to make decisions on individual items.  We make these based on appropriateness, quality, cost, etc.  Another thing to consider is size.  We have a limited amount of room to fill, and some things are just too big to start with.  Others just take up a lot of room.  While it's important  to have a "Wow" item something nice sized (we're instructed as a first step to "select a medium to large 'wow' item"),  there is also an advantage to small items.  Maybe our Wow item or just our lists of "must send" or something that was laid on our heart, or we found to send took up too much room, and we have trouble fitting everything in, that's when finding small things can help.  I tend to send mainly mid-sized items, but always like some small things to tuck in the corners and holes, it lets me put more things in, and gives them something to share if they should so desire.

As an example, I packed two shoeboxes, with the exact same list of items inside, just different sizes of those items.  Here's a mini and a massive box packed as an example (NOT actually sent).
Now, I think all of these items are great things to put in shoeboxes-almost all were just pulled out of shoebox packing stash, had their photo taken, and went back to be packed in shoeboxes in a more mixed manner.  I just don't think they should all be put together like this because it makes one box too big (I'm not even sure it would fit in the shipping carton) and one too small.  Operation Christmas Child tells us to "Start with an average-size cardboard or plastic shoebox."  and as you can see below, compared to an official OCC Go Box, they're nowhere near average.  The small one is a third the size of a Go Box, and the large boot one, the size of three!


Also, if you're curious, this is what the boxes looked like inside (remember, neither of these were sent, just put together as an example.



Now sometimes a larger item has obvious advantages of durability-how long the child will be able to use them:




Some things, it doesn't really matter about the size, for instance nail clips, so getting the smallest we can will give us more room.



And, sometimes, the smaller version of an item may actually be the more sturdy option.  Like this Hotwheel car that's die-cast compared to all plastic.


Here's a size comparison of the various items by category (with a list of what was included)








And, finally, just a cute photo of the dinosaurs for size comparison!

January 21, 2018

EXPIRED Bar Soap Deal for OCC Shoeboxes

I wanted to share about a deal I got last year on Dial Soap for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.  There is currently this printable coupon available, you should be able to print two on your computer. 
EDIT: This coupon has reached it's limit of prints, I'll share if I see it available again.  Also, if you get the newspaper, check the coupon inserts from the 21st, there should be the same coupon available.

January 15, 2018

Giraffe Themed Operation Christmas Child Shoebox for a Girl Ages 2-4 Years Old

One thing I always pack in shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child is stuffed animals.  Normally I go with Beanie Baby sized.  But sometimes there's a bigger one I want to send, like this giraffe.  Then you have to get creative to get it and everything else you need/want to send to fit.  Because 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. 




While I just had the stuffed animal originally, I found a lot of "theme stuff" to go with it, just from shopping our shoebox "stockpile"   I had plastic scissors that kinda looked like one, plus stickers, pad of colored paper with one on, and a giraffe print pencil!  Plus orange washcloth, turtle figurine, and kaleidoscope.  I thought the lion...albeit in an odd way, went with the theme, too. 

Often people find it helpful to see how the box is packed to fit everything in, so here's some photos of how these items fit in the shoebox.  I couldn't fit it in a GO, cardboard box, but it fit well in the new, official, plastic box.


For more ideas/fun boxes, check out other shoeboxes we packed for 2-4 girls or our themed boxes!

January 13, 2018

Donation ~ OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 1/13/2018

Well...I didn't buy anything for our shoebox stockpile this week, but thanks to a surprise package from my grandparents-full of little model cars!  50, plus signs!  Yay for others coming along side us!


We also have been re-organizing/going through our decorations...fund some cute, unused stuff that would be great for shoeboxes!

January 11, 2018

Report from Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Distribution in Southeast Asia


On this blog I mostly write about packing, shopping, crafting, etc. for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, but I thought it'd be encouraging to share some shoebox distribution stories, plus I love to get more ideas and feedback on things to include from first hand reports.  I've never been on a distribution, but I recently got to the chance to interview a couple that was able to take part of a distribution in Thailand about a decade ago.  I believe it to be a somewhat sensitive country for the gospel , so while I will share the story and photos, I won't share any names, exact locations, or exact year.


>>About how many kids were at the distribution(s) you attended?

January 6, 2018

OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 1/5/2018 ~ Of Washcloths and Whistles

I had got a $10 off $10 or more JCPenny coupon in the mail in early December, but didn't have a store handy to go to.  So, I decided to hold on to it for Free Shipping Day.  And it worked!  JCPenny had free shipping on any order, and I found washcloths on sale.  I had to wait for the to get off back-order, but in the end, I got three packages for just over $2, including tax!  EDIT: I just found out something cool.  I went through SwagBucks like I always do, and got back $0.20 in SB, what I didn't know was they were having a special promotion-so I got a bonus $5 SB back, too!  It's like I made money buying the washcloths!!!


I also recently tried ordering from AliExpress for the first time, sadly only one 10 pack, of the eleven I ordered arrived, but on contacted the seller, the re-shipped, so I ended up with a bonus 10 pack, and the wait didn't matter as I didn't need them yet! 



Spent from shoebox packing budget: $11.54  
Added to Swagbucks account:  $5.20

Saved $38.48
Saved thru sales:  $16.48 
Saved through discount code/coupons: $11 
Saved through buying in bulk:  $11 


January 1, 2018

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

My dad is in charge of packing most of the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes we pack for 10-14 year old boys.



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 5-9Boy 5-9, & Girl 10-14. 

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!


We like to try to add something practical in this age that might help them help provide for their family or start on a career, as in these countries they often need to around this age.  Something like a fishing kit, small tool kits, hand gardening tools (but not seeds), etc. In addition to more advanced school supplies like compasses and protractors to help them stay in school as these are often required for higher grades.  Of course, if you follow this blog, you know all our boxes get at least basic hygiene and school/art supplies, a clothing item, a ball, a stuffed animal, and a couple other toys.


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

  • Hygiene Supplies:
  • School Supplies:
      • Pens
        • 2-Red
        • 2-Blue
        • 2-Black
        • 1-Gel 
      • Pencils
        • 6-regular
        • 2-decorative 
        • 1-mechanical with extra leds
      • Highlighter
      • Sharpener 
      • Eraser
      • Spiral notebook 
      • Math kit
      • Desk plate with maps, etc.
      • Pencil Bag 
    • Art/craft supplies Supplies:
      • Colored pencils 
      • Plain paper pad 
    • Practical items: 
      • Tote bag
      • Safety pins
      • Flashlights
      • Tool kit
        • Screwdriver with different heads
        • Screws/bolts/washers
        • Mini zip-ties
        • Tape measure with level
        • Bag
    • Clothes:
      • Hat
      • Shirt
      • Gloves
      • Socks 
    • Toys 
      • To play noisily or others
        • Ball
        • Plastic Recorder Flute **
        • Whistle
        • Marbles 
        • Chess & Checkers game
      • To play with quietly alone
        • Punch Balloon
        • Ballons
        • 3D dinosaur puzzle
        • To "love"
          • Stuffed Puffin**  
      • Personal correspondence (not pictured)
        • Family photo  

      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 boys if you're looking for more ideas!

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