I happened to collect a bunch of Marvel/Avengers themed goodies on clearance just before DH’s bachelor party, and thankfully, most of the items in their hangover bags were returned unused, unneeded. So, candy, bandages, compressed wash clothes, etc, feature Captain America, the Hulk, all the favorites. And, after my pinned link for a Hulk care package has been so wildly popular, I decided to make one of my own. This box includes workout support like: jerky, shake powder, nuts, fish oil, power bars, vitamin C drink mix and instant Starbucks coffee. There are some other requested items too, especially sunscreen, baby wipes, pencils, led lights, and crystal lite. I should have sent batteries, but forgot…oops! As always, I collect the Sunday comments to line the bottom of the box, and decorate the flaps. Not my best decorating job, but keep an eye out for the football season opener and Halloween boxes, I just got the paper for them and they’re going to look sweet.
Big day for posting (and I thought I’d get away with re-posting my first ever blog)! It’s helping to organize my thoughts and feelings in a major way. I also busted behind to finish 3 household projects yesterday when I normally take sabbath time, so it’s a fair swap. Okay, I’m done rationalizing.
I sent this package over 2 weeks ago. I typically wait until DH receives a package until I post it, but this one is taking forever. I poured my heart and soul into it because this is DH’s first birthday that we aren’t together.
His first birthday we were together, he had been working at Africom for the summer and was very hard to reach. We had 2 half hour phone conversations in 2 months, and we had only been dating since February. I wondered if this was the life for me, but I couldn’t stop thinking about him, he had already permeated my being. The day before his birthday he arrived at a major hub from Germany and we flew the rest of the way to his Colorado hometown together (it was my first time meeting his parents). Over a mile above sea level and after 13 hours in transit we arrived late on his birthday eve, and his mother cough poured me the strongest margarita I’ve ever had. We sat out on the deck and I watched him catch up with his family, fill us in on all his adventures and present the gifts he had brought for us from his travels. I got up to get a glass of water and nearly tipped over. Holy tequila, Batman! Oh, how she laughed! (I swear to this day she did it on purpose). My mother in law has an incredible laugh. We had an amazing 5 days hiking as a family, off-roading, enjoying a leisurely 3 hour dinner at a downtown steakhouse where his parents told stories about all the times he could have died as a child. That was almost exactly 5 years ago.
But I digress. The point is, the care package. I accidentally used a non-flat rate box (oops) so the scrapbook paper doesn’t reach all the way to the bottom as it should. I always use a couple weeks of comics on the bottom so he can read them. I filled the bottom with America. Apple crumble cups, chocolate chip cookies, one of those 20 WWII movies sets, and some of his favorite tv shows on disk. Cholulua jerky, Key West coconut lime patties and coconut water are also his favorites.
Okay, ‘Merica represented, I moved on to a smaller box just for his birthday. I pasted pictures of his favorite people all over the inside of the box, and then put a bunch of cheap prints from our wedding in the bottom (so if they get wrecked it doesn’t matter). I found a place that sells microwave birthday cake kits (Perpetual Kid has so much fun stuff for care packages if you have the money!). This made me feel so much better about him not having a home made gourmet cake for the first time in five years (many years, I have made a four layer car bomb cake based on this recipe from Smitten Kitchen). I added some star spangled plates and napkins since I’m not sure if they have that kind of stuff to even serve the cake. I asked if there was anything he really wanted for his birthday and he said no. So I decided to send some cigars for him to share with the guys since he hasn’t gotten to do that in a long while. And, as a special treat, a little reminder of his alma mater (Go Army, Beat Navy!).
Finally, I got a bunch of balloons, and blew them up without tying the bottom and used metallic sharpie to write “I love…” followed by the traits I adore about him and the things I am grateful for in our relationship. The last balloon says “Happy Birthday!!” Then I let the air back out, so when he blows them up he can read the message.
There is one other special treat in there that I will share next week after he gets the package because I don’t want to risk ruining the surprise. It’s a pretty cool idea, and I don’t know of anyone else doing it, so keep an eye out, I’ll title the post “Care Package Bonus.”
I finished up this box yesterday after two weeks of careful shopping. In light of recent events in our battalion, I think this box is even more important because it represents self care. I was worried I couldn’t do it justice from so far away, but I really wanted to send the incredibly hard working female officers who are friends of my husband and mine a “girl’s night in”. Everyone, deployed or not, needs time to check out from the daily grind and relax their brains and take care of themselves once in a while. Male soldiers get to be men all the time pretty much, I think female soldiers need to carve out time for their feminine side. A deployed infantry unit is not the easiest place to do that, so I thought I’d put the girliest things I could in a care package for these ladies. The felt cupcake stickers my mother in law gave me were perfect for decorating this box–thanks Momma!
I thought about what I would buy if we were having one here at home, and this is what I came up with. All fun, no necessities. This is what I came up with:
No cocktails since alcohol is not allowed in theater…bummer. But virgin strawberry daiquiris are a-okay, and some margarita powdered drink mix is zero calories, and of course insulated tumblers to keep them chilled. Deep cleansing mask and wash cloths might help scrub off some of the grime of war and show off their beautiful faces. Then mani/pedi supplies all on clearance including glitter nail files and toe separators, some callous removing aloe foot wash, and a pumice stone/brush. Yes, there are some fun color nail polishes, because inside those rugged boots are tootsies that deserve extra tlc and no one can comment on their choice of toe nail polish color if they can’t see right? I’m kind of in love with adult Mad Libs for low tech fun, and these I splurged on to get the best ones. For the chick flick component: extra butter popcorn, microwave brownie, and movies (okay really, who puts Mama Mia and There’s Something about Mary in the uber clearance bin??). It took a little longer to assemble than I would have liked, but I was able to get some pretty fabulous deals by being patient.
Okay, well, I’m going to start fresh on packages. My first three were sent in a hurry, not photographed for posterity, and were mostly odds and ends of things like soap, odor neutralizers (for that pesky raw sewage), web gear pouch, and Starbucks Via. I did a Chinese takeout and a Movie theme box that was pretty cool (I mean, I think so, not that DH has actually laid eyes on it yet 21 days later). And there was the “guess the theme” box, which, between you and me was coconuts (curry coconut soup, coconut water, coconut cliff bars, coconut m&ms, sausalito cookies, coconut oil sunburn cream, etc).
Normally I hate processed foods and so couponing isn’t very fun because it’s a real challenge to get a kick ass deal on healthy food. Now that shelf-stable highly processed foods are pretty much the most reliable food to survive the trip overseas, I’m in coupon heaven. Many of these items were either doubled coupons plus sale or buy one get one free at Publix. The contents are chipotle Tobasco sauce, an Old El Paso burrito kit, refried beans, and tortilla stuffers (those things have chunks of meat!), individual Chi-Chi’s salsa packs, Doritos, chicken and quinoa poblano soup, Slim Jims Dare pepper jerkey, Frontera tomatillo enchilada sauce, hickory tuna, hot tamales, and key lime chocolate coconut squares, Crystal Light margarita (with Margaritaville pvc-free cup for shaking). And sunscreen, yum. Banana Boat=Banana=Plantain=Platanos Fritos=Mexican, I win. Okay back to business. Well, I guess I’m pretty much done for now. Box decorating tips soon!
If I’ve inspired you to send a box o’ love of your own, the USPS will send you a kit for FREE, and there is a discount on large priority mail boxes to APO addresses (score). Request your FREE Military Care package kit by calling 1-800-610-8734. Select your language (1 is English, 2 is Spanish). Select option 1 (it states it is for Express Mail®, Priority Mail or Global Express Guaranteed® products). When you reach a live agent, request CAREKIT04, the “Military Kit.” Allow 7-10 days for delivery. You can request up to 4 kits.