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

March 18, 2019

Simply Shoeboxes on Pinterest

Simply Shoeboxes can be found on Pinterest pinning everything and anything to do with packing Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.  You will only find boards and pins on this subject.



We have boards including images, videos and stories from OCC distributions; tips and tricks for packing lots in a box; examples of all ages of Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes; craft projects; and much more!  So  if you love packing OCC shoeboxes, stop by and follow Sarah at Simply Shoeboxes on Pinterest

You can also keep up with us on: Simply Shoeboxes Facebook, Simply Shoeboxes YouTube Channel and sign up for emails to keep up to date on the posts we publish here at Simply Shoeboxes.

March 16, 2019

OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ More Free Deals ~ 3/16/2019

I decided to just make a video of this week's additions to the shoebox stockpile instead of writing a post as it wasn't too many things, but didn't want to leave my blog readers out, so here it is.  If you're on YouTube you  might like to subscribe there, as sometimes I'll post things there instead of here.

 

Spent from gift cards earned or won online: $2 

March 14, 2019

DIY Crochet Granny Square Lovey and Purchased Stuffed Animal Combo

A crochet lovey attached to a purchased stuffed animal is perfect for my 2 to 4 year old Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.  I include a stuffed animal and a lovey in every box, so combining them is fun and makes for a special, cute WOW item that can bring comfort to a child in crisis.


I have seen dozens of patterns online for loveys that included a crochet animal head.  Because of physical limitations, crocheting those causes much pain, but I was drawn to them just the same.  My solution was to design a lovey I could attach to the adorable stuffed animals I had in my shoebox stockpile.  I began by using the case of these that I purchased with birthday money.  The tags on them say for all

March 9, 2019

OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 3/9/2019 ~ No Money Laid Out

Didn't pick up much for our shoeboxes, but it sure is hard to beat the price...didn't spend anything from our shoebox packing budget.
If you have a CVS card, be sure you have it set up to get emails from them, and check EVERY email you get from them.  Of late, I've been getting ECBs to print or send to card in them...sometimes more than one a week!  So Sunday I sent one for $3 ECB to my card, and when I shopped on Tuesday I was able to get some Valentines items 90% off...these plus a few for a senior ministry-all free!


I also found this little lamb stuffed animal at Dollar Tree that "wanted to come home with me" haha!  So I used some of the money we've set aside from online earnings for impulse shoebox purchases. 



My mom also crocheted a lot of hats for the DIY Quick to Crochet Child's Beanie Hat Pattern out of yarn we had laying around, so no financial expense.

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $0

Spent from cash or gift cards earned or won online: $1 

Saved $19.00 or 100%

Saved thru clearance:  $16.20 
Saved through email ECB: $1.80
Saved through money earned online: $1 

DIY Quick to Crochet Child's Beanie Hat Pattern

When crafting for my Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes I look for quality and speed (since I make over a hundred of each item each year).  This quick to crochet child's beanie hat was designed with ease and speed in mind.  I used simple stitches, double and single crochet, and a large hook with medium weight yarn [size 4].  Simply Soft yarn is a lighter weight size 4 yarn so it took more stitches to make each hat, but it is my favorite yarn to work with as it glides easily thru my fingers, is soft and has a nice sheen.


I also like Simply Soft made up with an I hook as it makes for a looser, more open finished design.  Since I don't know what countries my hats will be sent to, I like lighter weight, less "warm" hats.  That way if they go to a cold climate and the child has nothing, it will still provide more warmth than they had or they can wear it under a hooded coat for added warmth.  But in a warm climate with, what to the

March 8, 2019

Saving Money for Shoeboxes through Ebates

If you follow this blog, you know we like to find ways to save money on shoebox items to be able to pack more and better boxes.  One easy way we like to do that is through rebates when we're shopping anyways. By the way, this post contains affiliate links which I'd love you to use if you're going to give Ebates a try.  They won't cost you anything to but I may get a small commission if you act through them which gives me more time to dedicate to this blog.

Often we do this through Swagbucks (you can read more about that on my other blog: How to start saving at Swagbucks).  But another way that is easy and often you get more back is Ebates.  And now is a great time to try it as you can join free and get a $10 gift card after your first purchase of $25 or more.!!  And with how we shoebox shoppers like to hit clearance, etc-imagine what we could get with say a $10 Walmart Giftcard?  If you're unfamiliar with Ebates, here's how it works online
  • Sign Up is Free
  • Shop as usual but first stop at Ebates and click thru the link to the store you want to shop at.
  • Check Ebates for coupons for your order, too.
  • A percentage of your order total will be added to your Ebates account 
  • Then when it builds up to enough in your account they'll mail you a check.
So, if this interests you, why not try it out?  Join free and get a $10 gift card after your first purchase of $25 or more.

Operation Christmas Child Shoebox for 5-9 Year Old Boy- 2018

I enjoy packing sheoboxes for kids around the world through Operation Christmas Child and I like looking at photos of shoeboxes others have packed, so I'm sharing some of mine.  This is one I packed for a 5-9 year old boy.  OCC requests that we use normal sized shoeboxes, this one is right around the size of the old GO box-about 300 cubic inches.  I was happily surprised at how much I could fit in with the large stuffed animal!

If you'd like ideas for other ages be sure to check out my posts on OCC shoeboxes from 2018 for: Girl 2-4, Boy 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 shoeboxes due to customs. 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
        • 3-regular
        • 5-decorative 
      • Sharpener
      • Eraser  
      • Spiral notebook 
      • Mini composition book
      • Ruler
      • Kids Answers Magazine
      • Magnifying glass
    • Art Supplies:
      • Crayons
      • Multi colored pencil
      • Stickers
      • Large coloring book
      • Pad of plain paper 
      • Cars Maze
      • Practical items: 
        • Pencil bag
        • Whistle
      • Clothes:
        • Hat
        • Socks
        • Bandanna
      • Toys 
        • To play noisily or others
        • To play with quietly alone
          • Hotwheels type car
          • Prism viewer
          • Top
          • Animal figurines
          • Lenticular card
          • To "love"
            • Stuffed dog** 
        • Personal correspondence (not pictured)
          • Family photo 
          • Letter

        I know sometimes one of the hard things of packing shoeboxes is making things fit, and people have found it helpful to see how I've packed in the past, so here's a video of me un-packing it to show how it fit.

        March 7, 2019

        DIY Ribbon & Bead Necklaces for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

        Upcycling items into quality crafts for Operation Christmas Child is a great way to pack shoeboxes on a budget while enjoying the creativity of crafting.  Suzanne, from Sew Delightful, creates simple necklaces for shoeboxes from costume jewelry and ribbon.  She shops estate sales and thrift stores for deals on the jewelry as well as bulk beads and makes hundreds of unique, one of a kind, necklaces.  She also uses purchased pony and other beads she finds on clearance.  Suzanne is very generous and ships many of them to us to use in our shoeboxes each year.
        We shared an unboxing video on Simply Shoeboxes YouTube when two of Suzanne's boxes arrived in the mail; and interest was sparked in the necklaces.  I decided to share a quick overview here and on YouTube (see video below--it shows more of Suzanne's designs) so others could enjoy seeing them and making some of their own.  This is a great project for groups to do together -- even good for children to be a part of.
        Add brightly colored new beads to duller upcycled ones.

        Ribbon Necklaces Using Upcycled Costume Jewelry and Plastic Beads Tutorial

        March 2, 2019

        OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 3/2/2019 ~ Donations plus saved 82% on Deals

        Finally getting back to posting my Stockpile Saturdays.  And what a busy week to get back at it!!  We received donations, birthday gift orders, and got some great deals/clearance finds-check it all out below:


        We hit a few Dollar Generals to see what we could find on 90% off clearance-lots of goodies for shoeoboxes, also some fun items to use next year in our ministries to seniors.


        CVS was only 75% off, so still pretty high, but I had $4 in ECBs, plus, I had a $10 off $40, and was already buying about $20 for our household.  So, I added some items on (some in the picture above, some for senior ministry) and got them like half off 75% off, so like 87% off, plus $4 off for ECBs.


         
        Also picked up some Irish Spring on sale plus scanner coupon so worked out to about $0.25 a bar (old photo, didn't see the point of taking another photo packages of soap-LOL).

        I found some new wrapping paper and a new coloring book at a thrift store.




        We also found some more of the chunky pencils we like to put in 2-4 shoeboxes at Dollar General's 50% off clearance sale.


        So that was the items from our shoebox packing budget, here's a couple things....well, more than a couple! ;)  





        My mother chose to get some stuffed animals for shoeboxes for her birthday, you can see a review of them here and a video unboxing and look at their quality.


        We received a donation in the mail from Sew Delightful.  So many goodies, the photo just doesn't do it justice, so here's a link to our unboxing video:



        Spent from shoebox packing budget: $15.54  
        Saved $70.80  or  82% 

        March 1, 2019

        Lego Deal at Walmart

        Mallory let me know she found the Lego Classic Color boxes on clearance and WalMart and I looked it up, and those that still have them in stock mostly show $1 a box...normally $4-$5!!  I know Brickseek isn't 100% right, but you might want to check it out or look in store!  Lego make great additions to shoeboxes!

        LEGO¨ Classic Blue Creativity Box 10706 (78 Pieces)

        LEGO Classic Creativity Box, Green 10708 (66 Pieces)

        LEGO Classic Creativity Box, Orange 10709 (60 Pieces)

        LEGO Classic Creativity Box, Red 10707 (55 Pieces)

        Hope this helps someone!!  I don't always have times to share all deals, but I really like Lego, and wish I could pick these up myself, but my store seems out-maybe some of you will be able to get some!




        We like to pair our Lego and Lego type bricks with these base plates from Dollar Tree:
        If you're interested in the base plates and would like to buy a lot, would love for you to use my affiliate link - http://shrsl.com/1edo6  - to check them out-it won't cost you anything, but if you buy something through it I'll get a small commission which gives me more time to spend writing this blog, recording YouTube videos, and keep up the Facebook page and Pinterest boards

        Quality Crafts for Operation Christmas Child March Item of the Month

        We like to include quality crafts in our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes and are glad to see it included in the OCC Item of the Month list for March.  Over the years we have included sewn, crocheted, knit, upcycled, no-sew, paper crafts and more.  We work to make them quality items the children receiving them can enjoy.
        These are items I crafted for a shoebox a while ago.


        We often share crafting ideas and patterns through this site and on social media.  You can follow us on the following sites to keep up with all of our shoebox packing including sharing crafts:


        We have written dozens of craft tutorials for items perfect to pack in an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift.  You can find all of them by clicking the image below.


        We offer tutorials in the following categories if you would rather just check them out individually:



        You may also like to check out more things I've made for my OCC shoeboxes here:  Made by Cheryl.


        Two other places we like to check for OCC Shoebox craft ideas:


        We also receive handcrafted items from friends at opposite ends of the country:

        Chelle & Vicki, from Chelle's Caybees in NC
        Suzanne, from Sew Delightful in WA

        If you've never considered handcrafted items to pack in an Operation Christmas Child shoebox, you may want to check into it this year.  It's a great excuse to get a group of friends together to craft.

        You can also donate handcrafted items directly to OCC as fillers.  So if you find yourself crafting more than you can pack, find out more thru this link: Five Ways to Donate Fillers to Operation Christmas Child.




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