Archive for the ‘Military Care Packages’ Category
‘Tis the season of hearts, chocolate, Cupid and his arrow, and Hallmark cards. As with many other holidays, my true love is/will still be out to sea on a gigantic air craft carrier while I am sitting at home TRYING very hard not to eat the candy our kids bring back from school. Have I mentioned before that my children do not eat candy? Yes, I know, surely there was a chromosome that was switched or left behind or broken in half or something when they were conceived. Whatever happened, our children do NOT have a sweet tooth. I finally just got rid of last year’s Halloween candy.
Anyways…Since Dad is out to sea, we have to prepare early to send him a care package in hopes that it will get there on time. The average arrival time during his deployment was 10 days. Then there was the package that took 5 months to get there. Sometimes it only takes a few days. Whatever the case, it is always better to be safe than sorry!
We kept this care package simple. I made some of his favorite homemade trail mix with a Valentine spin – basically a million different types of nuts, dried cranberries, and the Valentine m&m’s to give it a nice red and pink tone! I threw in a bag of Gobstopper Heartbreakers and also opened the bags of several mixed candy packages – Butterfingers, Hershey Kisses, BabyRuths, Nestle’s, Peanut Butter Cups, etc – to toss in loosely with everything else. Really, my husband won’t eat many of those items, but everyone in the offices shares their care packages with everyone else. A lot of people don’t ever get things sent to them at all, which I think is a terrible shame. I would send every person on that ship a care package for each holiday if I could.
For the actual Valentine part I made him a nice simple little card using small paper hearts to make a flower in the middle on the front of the card (forgot to take a picture before packing it up). The kids made their own special valentines though! A reminder: Dad is out on a aircraft carrier, an all metal aircraft carrier. I don’t know if anything on that ship is not made out of metal. This, of course, makes it very easy to send him things that are magnetic. Homemade magnetic picture Valentines to be exact!
Now, I don’t have a fancy dancy paper/vinyl/magnetic cutting machine like so many of you do, and I probably never will. So we had to do this the old fashioned way!
For the materials I used a 40% off coupon at my favorite craft store to buy a roll of magnet that has one peel off adhesive side (regularly $9.99 for I think a foot by two feet of magnet and make sure you don’t buy the kind that has one paper side), and at home I already had craft paper, stickers, and an x-acto knife.
First, take the magnet out of the packaging and lay it out flat weighted down by books for a day so it won’t curl up while you are working with it. To begin the project, I cut out two 6 x 6 inch pieces from the magnet and saved the rest for later. I then cut the same size out of my background paper (shown in the picture in a blue pattern).
I removed the adhesive from one of the pieces of magnet and, being careful to keep it smooth, stuck the blue paper onto the magnet. Using a symmetric heart I had cut earlier to use as a pattern, I placed the heart on top of the paper covered magnet and traced the outline with the x-acto knife. Now I had my magnetic heart base.
Since these were Valentine cards from the kids, I wanted them to decorate them as they pleased. Little K and D used stickers to decorate the border of their hearts, leaving the middles clear for a picture. After they were done, I used 3D mounting squares to place their pictures in the middle of their hearts.
So there we have a fantastic, inexpensive, little Valentine’s Day care package for Dad so he knows how much we love him and are thinking of him! Hopefully he will receive it in time and love his homemade magnets that he can stick anywhere on the ship!
Time for another care package for my hubs! He received his third one today, titled “Junk in the Trunk!”
For those of you don’t know, saying that ship life out to sea is like the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray every day, would be an understatement. Our men and women deploy for 5 to 7 months, sometimes longer, and are restricted to the ship and only the ship the entire time. If they are lucky, the ship will pull into port in some exotic place like Dubai or somewhere in Italy, and they will have the opportunity for a breif interlude from their perpetual Groundhog Day. Unfortunately, this break only lasts two to five days and it is back out to sea again for another month or two!
It took me a little while to learn and understand that while on the ship, they do not have weekends. They do not work from 9 – 5. They work 18 plus hours a day to keep this floating piece of sovereign US territory running twenty four hours a day. Depending on the type of watch my husband has, he may get a good 6 hours of sleep in a row, or he may live for weeks where his sleep is split up into 2 hour naps whenever he gets a chance. Going “outside” is a rarity seeing as how the outside is on the top of a flight deck (on the aircraft carrier at least) and flight operations prohibit you from taking nice strolls around too often. I heard one person describe it as a floating prison, and it is truly probably the closest a free person can be to living in one…a prison that is!
This can maybe help to explain a little as to why I am so intent on sending him things as often as I can. Any little piece of home or something to break up the monotony can really be a wonderful thing for any sailor out to sea. For this care package I went with that idea and purchased a whole bunch of “different” things, hence the “Junk in the Trunk.” A whole lotta junk that will definitely add the pounds to your trunk! Thank goodness for Trader Joes! If you are ever looking for something different or unusual, this is a GREAT grocery store to go to and they have incredibly reasonable prices!
A few of the things I put in there:
- Cliff Energy Bars (they carry EVERY flavor!)
- Sweet Potato Chips
- Snappea Crisps
- Dried fruit of all kinds
- Plantation Chips
- Banana Chips
- and more!
He sent me an email today saying it arrived and how SUPER excited he was to receive it!!! Apparently the rest of the office was too, so that is even better! It may not be much, but a little something goes a long way to keeping your husband happy out to sea!
You know, for a Stay At Home Mom, I sure do very little staying at home these days! I feel like an eternity has gone by since I have posted. In that time I have done tons of crafting, cooking, and creating. Those posts will come soon enough, but first I wanted to share my most recent military care package for my amazing husband who is deployed on a ship for several months.
The theme of this package was the “Bear” Necessities. As you can see in the photo, I sent him many of the things that we use on a daily basis. Mostly toiletry items and mostly items my husband A) would never buy for himself but he always steals mine, B) he forgot or did not have room to pack as he was leaving to go on cruise or C) he requested after his first couple of weeks out to sea for longer than a work up cycle.
Some of the items: cracked skin lotion, pepto bismol, tide-to-go sticks, baby wipes, dental floss, a new loufa, band aids, batteries, a magnetic notepad (everything on the ship is metal so it can go anywhere), hooks with removable sticky stuff (again, everything is metal so you can’t exactly put a nail in the wall), mouthwash, nail clippers, q-tips, air freshener, a pumice stone, and a few other things.
To do a really cute job of tying this box together with the “Bear” Necessities theme, we also included a bear. But this was no ordinary bear…
The kids and I spent a day doing all sorts of stuff Daddy would love doing with us. We went to the splashpad, ate lunch out, had italian ices for dessert, etc. We also went into Build-A-Bear Workshop and made him his very own special bear. The kids got to pick out the body of the bear from several different choices, stuff the bear using the giant filling machine (the workers even let my kids “feed” the machine more fluff because it was empty) and put a fabric heart inside the bear that the workers told them to make a wish on. To top it off, we did spend a little extra money on one of the recordable sound boxes you can put in the animals. They have premade noises, such as a roar, but they also have one that you put your own message on. We went into the back of the store where it was quiet and all three of us said at the same time “We love you Dad!!!” After you are sure you want to save your recording, the worker moves a switch on the box for you so it doesn’t re-record anymore. It was so wonderful because I also was able to make special memories with the kids that I will always be able to cherish myself.
So, now whenever Daddy is lonely, all he has to do is press the paw of his bear and he will hear our three voices yelling how much we love him!
Okay, so my computer harddrive CRASHED and I was without a computer for what seemed like an ETERNITY!!!! I should mention that the computer was exactly one month and one week old when it crashed! Gees-o Pees-o! In any case. The computer doctor (Best Buy’s Geek Squad) fixed it and I have now been able to reinsert the IV that pumps the internet through my blood! Thank goodness.
So one of the first things I had to do, naturally, is contribute to the wonderful blog that threads me together with my mother and sister. Awwww….
The topic of this post is a sad one indeed. My husband has recently deployed for the next SEVERAL months on an aircraft carrier. I am so lucky to be married to such an amazing man who doubles as an officer in the U.S. Navy. Thank you, darling, for serving our country! Unfortunately, this service comes with something all military wives grow accustomed to: a lot of time ALONE. The boys leave to go out to sea (or overseas) and we, the wives, are left at home to keep the house, keep the kids (alive), keep the bills, keep the pets, keep up with the neighbors, friends, and more. I do have to admit that it can be an absurdly difficult job, often thankless.
My husband, good thing for him, never falls short when it comes to thanking me for all of my hard work! I try my hardest to show my appreciation for him as well, and one way is to send him care packages; often. The first package I sent him during this cruise (deployment on the ship) had the theme “Nuts About You!”
I created a card with this picture of an elephant showing his love for peanuts on the front, and the headline “I’m Nuts About You!” Inside I included a short note for him and how much I appreciated him.
In case you didn’t know, you can order a FREE military kit from the United States Post Office. You cannot do this online, it must be done by calling 1-800-610-8734 . You will select your language and then select 1 (for priority mail). Tell them you are requesting the free military kit and they will deliver it to your door quite quickly. You don’t have to be in the military to do this, just sending things TO someone in the military. Just reorder when you run out. The kit contains:
So, I filled the large flat rate box with every kind of nut I could find. Plain peanuts, gourmet almonds, cashews, nut clusters, trail mix, chocolate nuts…all sorts! I HAD a picture of the contents of the box before I sent it. The picture now lies in the same grave as my crashed harddrive, so you will have to use your imagination. There were around 15 – 20 different types of nuts.
My husband, and the rest of the men and women in the office, loved it! The office is often full of oreos, chips, and other snacks the men crave from home, so they appreciated something different to add to the mix.
The next package I sent was just an envelope with some magazines in it. I try to stay away from the typical subscription magazines because they are often sent to the ships a-plenty. Instead, I look for the special editions sold only in stores. Let’s hope one of my husband’s favorite past time is not reading my blog on the ship, because he hasn’t received this one yet!
I am trying to send him at least a little something on Monday of every week. When you are sending packages, keep in mind that the ship and other military mail systems are often MORE than slow! We once had a package take 5 months to arrive at the ship! Who knows where it was lost that whole time?! The nuts package only took 8 days though, so we were very excited!