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

February 27, 2019

Plush Animal Review for OCC Shoeboxes from Dollar Tree

I (Cheryl) enjoy receiving Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing items for my birthday.  This year I had gift money to spend and since I can't get out to shop much so I decided to order some plush stuffed animals from Dollar Tree since we include a stuffed animal in every shoebox.  I also was able to pay with Paypal and use a $5 coupon they had sent for my birthday.  Disclosure:  I will be including Sarah's affiliate links in my review below--if you shop thru them she'll be compensated, so you will help keep Simply Shoeboxes online at no extra cost to yourself.


Below are my thoughts on quality, cuteness and appropriateness for including in an Operation Christmas Child shoebox.  At the end of the post is also a video of our unboxing them and we show them in an OCC shoebox if you are interested.

I never considered Dollar Tree stuffed animals much until last Easter when Sarah packed a shoebox from Dollar Tree's Easter section.  We normally buy more expensive ones on clearance.  She said in her post, "I have to say-I totally fell in love with these stuffed animals, often $1 stuffed animals are not that nice, but Dollar Tree often seems to have some nice ones, and these-especially the lamb-was SO CUTE!!!"  I just had to buy more of those this year, too as I also fell in love with them and was very satisfied with the quality.

This image is from last year's stuffies, this year's have embroidered eyes instead.


Ordering them online (Easter Floppy Plush Animals SKU: 284202 ) would mean I would get two styles of bunnies also (as they come in a case), and since we seem to always have an abundance of bunnies Sarah finds on clearance, I decided to just have her pick up some of the ducks and lambs when she picked up my order at our local Dollar Tree (free shipping to store).  I would definitely buy these again.  They seem sturdy, have embroidered faces and are adorable.



My online order included Fuzzy Friends Plush Hanging Sloth SKU: 279941.  From the image online I thought these would be perfect for the 10 to 14 year old boys, except for the lightest one which I thought would be sweet for the 10 to 14 year old girl shoeboxes.  Being 14 inches long I knew they would need to fold over to fit in an Operation Christmas Child shoebox which should be no problem.  They were, indeed, long but very narrow so they fit with lots of room left over.  They are very soft with the exception of the felt feet & hands.  They have cute smiles tho a few faces were not stuffed full.  I think they are okay, but I personally would not choose to buy them again.  My husband packs our 10 to 14 year old boy boxes so I will need to see what he thinks.  He may like to buy them again.



I also ordered a case of Fuzzy Friends Plush Sea Animals SKU: 243944.  I fell in love with the fish and the turtle.  I also thought the shark would be great for the older boys.  I think these are made well enough, but I was disappointed with the stiffness of the felt fins on the fish (not so cuddly), otherwise they are nice and soft. And I love the bright colors. The shark was also not as cute as I expected so I may not choose to order another case of these but I will need the opinions of the other packers in my family.  They are a good choice for the boy boxes.



My last case was for Fuzzy Friends Plush Baby Animals SKU: 243946.  The giraffe just kept calling my name -- I couldn't resist.  He did not disappoint -- I think he was mine and Sarah's favorite.  This set of four animals were well made and all passed the cuteness test.  This is another set that I would be happy to order another case of when I need more animals.  I think they all would be great for either boy or girl Operation Christmas shoeboxes.



When Sarah went to pick up the order at Dollar Tree she found another adorable duck.  I think this little guy is by far the best quality and the highest cuteness score, but unfortunately I have not been able to find him online.  Perhaps they will soon carry him online, too.



I found the easiest way to find their full selection of stuffed animals was to search for "plush" on the Dollar Tree website.  Here is a direct link if you are interested:  Plush Search on Dollar Tree.


To order online you need to order by the case (either 24 or 36 depending on style), or you can order less and pay a handling fee. Shipping to your local Dollar Tree store is free.  Dollar Tree often runs shipping deals, like currently shipping via UPS is just $1.00 (valid through 02/28/2019 at 12:50am ET).  Final disclosure:  links in this post to Dollar Tree are affiliate links-meaning Sarah makes a small commission when an order is placed thru one of them.

I definitely plan on ordering more plush animals from Dollar Tree for filling our future Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

February 18, 2019

Shopping Year-Round for Shoeboxes for Greater Value



If you follow this blog you'll have seen my Stockpile Saturday posts and know I like to shop year round for shoeboxes, I thought I'd write a post to illustrate why.  So, in between National Collection Weeks 2017 and 2018, I set aside some of the best deals I found to make a sample box to show an example of just how great of a box one can pack for just how great of a price just by keeping one's eyes open at various stores.  So here's the sample 10-14 year old shoebox for a boy.

The retail value of the box is $113.65, but we only spent $4.54!!!   This is a slightly extreme example, and you might not be able to find these exact deals, but I'd say in 2018 we averaged less than that spent per box after deals, donations, and crafting and the value per box was over $25.  Here's another example boxes from deals shopping year round.

So, how did I get those deals?  There's a few different ways:  shopping CVS deals (combining coupons, sales and ECBs), Dollar General Clearance, Bargin Hunt deals (as little as a quarter), etc.  I also had free samples/promotional items I didn't need myself. Another big way to get deals was through Office Depot Rewards (read more on my other blog here) I got items at no cost to me, I just used rewards I got for turning in used ink cartridges and reviewing items.  Here's a video that breaks it all down:



Disclaimer:  unlike our yearly boxes I share, this is a  sample box to see for myself and show what could be done in a blog post, this exact boxes was not sent intact as these items were based on value/deals not choosing to go together, but it is a good mix/example of what I put in boxes.

February 14, 2019

Simply Shoeboxes on YouTube


Hi everyone!  Today is the 14th anniversary of YouTube started, so thought I'd share our YouTube channel! We started a YouTube Channel about a year and a half ago-don't have the best equipment or voice for it, but people seem to be enjoying them, and the pace seems to be picking up with videos. Actually, of late, I seem to be getting more videos done than blog posts.  If you haven't yet, you might like to check us out at: Simply Shoeboxes on YouTube!

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