It’s that time of year again. I’m sure we’re all “making a list” and checking it 100 times, trying to come up with great (and affordable) gift ideas for family and friends. Sometimes the gift ideas come easily, sometimes it’s really really hard.
When the gift giving ideas really aren’t flowing, I try to come up with a theme – like books, movies, cooking, games, etc. Last year, my husband’s family decided to do funny T-shirts for their sibling exchange and I thought “great! Let’s do that for the nieces and nephews too!” So I did. Since I try not to share any gifts online before said gift is given – that means I get to share them this year. 😉
On my husband’s side of the family, we currently have two nieces and three nephews, ranging in age from early 20s to preschool. Tough to coordinate something that works for all ages, but that’s the beauty of personalized shirts. You can buy a plain shirt in any size or color that you need. And after doing a quick Pinterest search of funny sayings, I quickly found that I could come up with a fun saying for each of them that incorporated the word “awesome.”
For our oldest niece.
For the nephews.
For the (Batman obsessed) youngest nephew.
And for the youngest niece.
Cute right? And easy, I promise. I don’t have a step-by-step tutorial for you, but I will tell you that I used my handy dandy Silhouette machine to cut out the lettering from iron-on vinyl. I love how you can cut any font on your computer with the Silhouette, even dingbats. And you can easily convert clipart you find online – that’s what I did with the Batman symbol.
Since I was on a roll, I also did a onesie for my sister’s daughter. My sister was pregnant at the time (obviously).
And finally, a shirt for my father-in-law.
Probably should have made that one for my husband too. Any excuse to buy more tools… 😉
It only took an hour or two to put them all together. Eight gifts in under two hours – one of the easier projects I’ve tackled, for sure! 😉
Well, I have errands and possibly more Christmas shopping on the agenda today. I’d better get off the computer and shower so I can get everything done. I’m hoping to devote the rest of the week to working on the remodel (it’s come a long way since the Before Photos of our DIY Remodel I posted the other day!). Here’s to a busy final week of November.
And, of course, if you do make your own personalized Tshirts I’d love to see them!
And for more in-the-minute progress on Christmas prep, house remodel progress and all of the upcoming holiday fun, be sure to follow me on Instagram.
Hello Spring! Well, close enough, right? I told myself to wait until the end of February before I could think about Spring but now that it’s March… 😉
We may not see flowers popping up anytime soon (at least not here in Northern Utah) but all of the Spring holidays are certainly on their way. I often like to get the ideas flowing by looking at some of my past holiday ideas for Spring. And since I have yet to share the Spring Care Package I put together for my husband while he was deployed last year, let’s start there, shall we?
Getting the timing right for sending care packages can be a tricky thing, especially if they are being sent overseas. I found that I had to think ahead at least 3 weeks when sending packages for the last deployment.
After a look at the calendar last year, I decided to hit all three of the big Spring holidays in one box. Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, and April Fool’s Day all got their own mini care package.
My favorite are the Regional Rate A b0xes (the catch with those is that you have to order them in sets of 10 online – but they’re free!) whose rates are based on how far away the box is being sent but still not tied to a specific weight. The Regional Rate A boxes are only slightly smaller than Medium Flat Rate boxes, but can save up to half the cost of the Medium Flat Rate shipping costs. The added bonus of the Flat Rate boxes of any kind is that they ship quickly, only 2-3 days in transit if shipping within the USA.
First step for putting together a care package is decorating the box. I always try to use patterned scrapbook paper from my stash on the flaps and something fun/funny for the bottom of the box. In this case I had my daughter draw a picture for St Patrick’s Day with the stipulation that part of it should look like a pot of gold. Then we added chocolate gold coins (glue dots work great for keeping them in place), placing some beneath a slit in the paper along the upper edge of the “pot” so it looked like the coins were being held inside it.
Isn’t she cute?
Another integral part of the care package is the card. In this case I wanted to create a unique card for St Patrick’s Day. I took a photo of our dog for the front of the card and added the quote “I wanted to give you a big kiss for St Patrick’s Day…”
and the inside reads “but I don’t have a LICKER license.”
Items for the St. Patrick’s Day portion of the care package included beer-flavored Jelly Bellys, a couple of pin on buttons (in case the husband needed a touch of green), Lucky Charms cereal (printable tag found HERE), and a few more chocolate gold coins (of course!).
I wanted the Easter portion of the care package to have it’s own container so I cut down one of the Flat Rate boxes. Some more patterned scrapbook paper, some Easter basket “grass,” and the quote “Some Bunny Loves You” completed the decorations for the box.
Inside: Easter candy! Some stuffed in plastic eggs, some left in it’s own packaging. His favorites include Robin’s Eggs, Reece’s Eggs, and Peeps. My husband also loves chocolate-covered gummies so I was happy to run across the bunnies at World Market. (Which is also where I got the Jelly Bellys). And of course, the kids and I each wrote a note inside some Easter themed cards I had in my stash.
April Fool’s deserves a nod, doesn’t it? I decided to keep it simple and just put together a small “open when” envelope. A fun meme and a box of Bean Boozled jelly beans are just the right size for the envelope. The jelly beans are the kind where you have to guess if you’re eating a good flavor or something crazy like ear wax.
And there you have it all together in the box – a fun Spring Care Package for all the holidays. As you can see, I added a few other things either as requests from the husband (the poster tack for hanging photos on his wall) or something I thought he could use (the coffee mug and a dish wand and soap so he could wash the mug himself as needed). Round it out with letters from the kids and myself and the package was ready to go.
I hope this gave you a few new ideas for sending a little something to your loved one. We all deserve a little happy mail…or a gift basket? Something to think about… 😉
Searching for more Care Package/Gift Basket Ideas? I’m developing quite the collection. Like the Beat the Heat Care Package, Half-Way There Care Package, or Deployment Survival Kit (for the spouse at home).
*This post may contain affiliate links.
With just over a week until Valentine’s Day, if you don’t have your Valentine’s Care Package in the mail you’d better copy this idea, quick! 😉 (And in case you didn’t know, Flat Rate boxes only take a couple of days to reach their destination.)
Naw, you’re probably all on top of things like that already, right? Goodness knows I was last year. At the time, my husband had just left on a six month deployment and one of the things that made all of us feel better was putting together care packages.
What I wasn’t great at during deployment – blogging regularly. Most of the care package ideas never made it onto the blog and we all get to have some fun revisiting them this year.
The husband left on deployment two days before his birthday in January. This may have been the very first care package the kids and I put together last year. Getting input from the kiddos and having them shop for things to go in the box – fun, fun!
I have to admit, I purposely kicked up my Care Package Game with this last deployment. Sure, I’ve sent care packages before, but this time around I was determined the husband would get at least a couple of envious glances from the other guys when he opened them. I wanted that wow factor as soon as the box was opened, so I made sure to decorate the inside of each box.
According to Pinterest one of the easiest ways to decorate the box is using wrapping paper. (And yes, I have an entire board devoted to Care Packages if you want more ideas.) I used THIS tutorial for that, which basically instructs you to diassemble the box, glue the wrapping paper on to the flattened box, trim the paper, and reassemble. It worked pretty well (don’t judge that one crazy edge on the bottom) though my personal preference for the *easiest* way to decorate the inside of the box is to use patterned scrapbook paper and double stick tape.
As soon as the husband reached his destination he was requesting flavorings for water. Those were a constant for every care package. For everything else, I went for sentimental or fun.
One of the big trends in care packages for deployment or other long distance relationships seems to be Open When envelopes. I thought these were a great idea, especially since it would help spread out the fun of the care package a while past the initial opening of the box. (More details on those in another post soon!)
Did you notice the envelope marked Date Night? My goal was to send a care package every couple of weeks. I also wanted to send a specific Date Night envelope at least once a month. Inside each one was a different idea for a faux long distance date night – movies, a TV show we followed together, hiking. (I’ll give this one its own post as well. Check back soon!)
No Valentine’s Care Package is complete without something sweet so we included a few treats.
These oversized Kisses became a constant in each care package as well. I thought it would be a nice touch to have something the husband knew he could look forward to in every box. Plus, well they’re kisses. Read into that any way you like 😉
One of the Open When Envelopes was, of course, dedicated to Valentine’s Day. The kids each made their Dad a card and I found funny printable cards and sent a few of those. (Sorry, I’ll include the link for the printable when I find it. It was a year ago, after all.) Plus, a box of chocolates tiny enough to fit in the envelope.
The kids also helped me write messages on balloons. We blew them up, wrote on them, and deflated them for easy shipping. That way, the husband got his own little DIY balloon bouquet.
I love those Sharpie Fine Point pens, don’t you? I used them for everything lately. (You can purchase some HERE).
Anyway, back to the package.
Every deployment needs at least one stuffed animal, right? (preferably covered in perfume. Trust me on this one.)
Kaitlyn picked this cute little guy out and wrote the tag. I’m sure her dad loved it, and everything else in his Valentine’s Care Package.
As much fun as it was to put together this Valentine’s Care Package, I’m much happier to have him home with us this year. For those of you celebrating Valentine’s Day apart from your loved one, I wish you a good one.
In search of more Care Package Ideas? I have more great themes like Beat the Heat and Half-Way There care packages. (I still got compliments on that last one at the squadron Christmas party!) Or for that spouse that is holding down the fort at home during deployment, a Deployment Survival Kit care package.
Linking to: Home Matters Party, BFF Open House, Pretty Pintastic Party, Pin Me Party, What to Do Weekends, Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make, Saturday Sharefest, Creativity Unleashed,
(May contain affiliate links)
It has been a snow-filled couple of weeks here and we’re almost to the end of January. That must mean Valentine’s Day is on the horizon.
Has anyone come up with good gift ideas yet?
The husband and I decided to forego gifts this year and spend the money on something to do together. I ran across this great cooking class for couples on the 14th – five courses of fancy food, plus chocolates and flowers. It sounded great. Sadly, it was sold out.
I may have thrown a little temper tantrum because I really wanted to go. And because now I have to come up with Plan B.
But. At least the kids’ gifts were easy. The little guy’s teacher and classmate Valentine’s gifts came together no problem as well. Want to see?
My little guy has a planner that he brings home every day in which his teacher has him write anything he needs to do for homework, reminders, and so on. Every day they also have a motivational quote.
I thought it would be fun to give her a way to display some of those quotes thus – the Quote Clipboard.
The base for the quote clipboard is just a 12″ x 12″ piece of wood that I stained and coated with poly. (Link to my favorite poly)
To make it stand up, I drilled a hole on the back and inserted a 3″ dowel. Silly me left the stain down at the shop, so I ended up painting the dowel black. In a perfect world, the dowel gets its own coat of stain too.
You could glue the dowel in, but I left it loose and just taped it to the back of the board so it would be easier to gift wrap.
Adding a clip to the front completes the assembly process.
See? Totally easy.
I have a whole box of clips but I know that they can be hard to find. So (nice person that I am!) I’ll save you the trouble of hunting them down – the clips are generally referred to as Bulldog Clips and can be purchased HERE.
Tyler helped me select three of his teacher’s most-used quotes from his planner and we found a few new ones for her as well. The top row of quotes in the photo came from HERE.
I loved the rainbow colors on the printables, so I used a similar style on our quotes (bottom row).
Not bad, if I do say so myself.
I like my kids to be involved in the process when they give gifts. So after a quick review of my Pinterest Boards I gave my little guy a short list of ideas he could give to his classmates. He chose bouncy balls. Nice.
It was a simple matter to come up with a “punny” saying for the tag. It reads: “I have a BALL with you Valentine.”
As luck would have it, we had these bags leftover from some of my husband’s pre-Christmas baking. Easy peasy.
Tyler stuffed the bouncy balls into the bags and I stapled on the tags. Teamwork, people. Teamwork.
Now we’re all set for Valentines – more than two full weeks ahead of schedule! (I get a high five for that, right?)
Now back to figuring out what to do with the husband on Valentine’s Day. Any suggestions?! Please?
If you are still in search of more Valentine’s gift ideas feel free to check out my Pinterest Board or some of my ideas from previous years like my Crazy Cool Valentines last year or Teacher Gifts in a Cup.
And as always, if you make your own DIY Quote Clipboard or anything else you see on the blog – pease share!
That’s right – it’s time to start thinking about Valentines for classmates and teachers. At least, it is if the stores have anything to say about it. I even spotted some bikinis for sale the other day (said as I look out at the new 6″ of snow we got this week, on top of what was already there. Eesh). Sometimes it feels like retailers are rushing us a bit, though I’m all for staying ahead of the curve.
Keeping that in mind, why don’t we take a look at the Valentines my kids gave to their classmates and teachers last year? (One of the few posts that didn’t transfer from the old domain so now is a great time to repost, don’cha think?)
With the kids bringing home dozens of small gifts from classmates every year, my goal is always to do something a bit unique. I also try to keep it easy and inexpensive because dozens of gifts can add up fast! So, I was happy to run across these cute printable tags on Pinterest.
I kept the design on the tags just as in the printable and added the “love Tyler” to the bottom (he would do anything to keep from having to write his name 30 times!) then printed them on cardstock. It was a simple matter to cut a couple of slits in the tag to slide the straw through. A quick staple attached individual Koolaid packets to the tag.
Bonus! Non-candy Valentines make us happy!
Now the teacher gift is where I truly out-did myself. 😉 Knowing I was going with the “cool” idea for the classmate Valentines I kept my eyes open for something that fit that theme. So, when I ran across these great containers when I was grabbing a few more lunchbox containers for the kids I was soooo excited. (What?! You don’t get excited in the container section of TJ Maxx?!) The containers have mini ice packs in the lids – perfect!
The containers came in a set of four, so I had enough for both kids’ teachers with just one set of containers. Change the “kool” to “cool” on the tag (that font is called Jokerman) and we were all set.
I’ve already started working on ideas for this year’s Valentines for my son’s classmates and teacher. Stay tuned!
Want more teacher gift ideas? Check out my Teacher gifts in a Cup
Or. While we are on the subject of lunchbox containers, check out some of my Lunchbox tips and tricks (for picky eaters).
Until next time. What should we create next?
We are approaching the final countdown on this military deployment – YAY YAY YAY – and having that husband of mine home again is on my mind a lot. I can’t wait!
Now that we are approaching the end, I remember how much I looked forward to the mid-point of the deployment and how much fun it was to put together the care package with a Half-way There theme.
Everything was cut in half – and I mean EVERYTHING.
I decorated the box with two different patterned scrapbook papers, so even the box looked like it had been divided in half.
And again, I always include something in the very bottom of the box as an extra surprise – the funnier the better.
The box was filled with anything I thought might lend itself to being cut in half – a package of pudding cups, a package of microwave-able mac n cheese, Pop Tarts, Thin Mints Girl Scout Cookies, powdered drink mix, balloons, and a package of party confetti poppers.
The boxes were fairly easy to cut in half. For any packaging that didn’t stand on it’s own or threatened to spill the contents once cut in half I simply covered the exposed end with packaging tape.
Splitting up the pair of running shoes my husband had requested and sending just a single shoe was my daughter’s idea. Haha! Of course, we put together a second (workout themed) package with the other shoe and sent it the very next day. We were a bit worried one of the packages would get lost but it went perfectly and the two boxes arrived back to back without any problems.
I love how some of the snack foods now have fun lettering on them. I made sure to snap up this Snicker’s candy bar that reads “Impatient” the minute I spotted it, then held on to it for a few weeks (some days that wasn’t easy!) knowing I would find the perfect package to send it in.
The kids always try to contribute a letter or drawing to each care package. To stick with my theme, I cut my son’s drawing in half and did the same with the letters from myself and my daughter. Then I cut an envelope in half, putting half of the letters and drawing in each side and hit one part of the envelope on the bottom of the package and placed the other part in the top of the package.
I’m sure hitting the half-way point of the deployment was the high point of my husband’s week, but he did get a real kick out of the package too.
I was thinking if you currently didn’t have a husband on deployment (lucky you!) what else would be a fun theme for a half-way gift? Any other long distance separation, of course – long distance relationship, missionary gift, college care package, countdown to a big milestone like marriage or graduation…
Any other ideas I’m missing?
I’m still adding a lot of my care package ideas to the blog – please feel free to explore.
–Beat the Heat Summer Care Package
–Favorite Things Care Package
–First Care Package for Deployment
–Deployment Survival Kit (for military spouses)
Happy 4th of July! It’s ok if I jump the gun a little bit right? I’m pretty sure the festivities (4 nights of rodeo) start tomorrow night here anyway.
The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays. I love the enthusiasm for it here in my hometown. The flags all over the place. So many events to pick and choose however we want to celebrate. And the red, white and blue – one of my favorite color combinations. So, when it worked out that it’s my mom’s turn to host our Bunco group right after the 4th of July we were really excited to put together the prizes. And what better for a 4th of July/summer theme than food-related gift baskets?!
The prizes are supposed to range in cost from about $12 to $24 so all five of these gift basket ideas are under $25. As a fun twist we not only stuck to a summer food/dinner theme but tried to incorporate as much of the red, white and blue patriotic theme as we could find. With the 24th of July Pioneer Days celebration here in Utah, we keep the red, white and blue out the entire month of July 😉
My favorite basket would have to be our picnic themed one. We found this adorable insulated picnic basket to use as the base for the gift (from TJ Maxx). I love that it’s red, white and blue colors but flower-patterned instead of stars and stripes so you can use it any time of year. We filled the basket with patriotic themed picnic supplies – paper plates, napkins, those adorable red mason jar drinking cups with straws, a vinyl tablecloth, and red, white and blue tortilla chips to finish it off.
What’s summer without ice cream, right? We just had to do an ice cream themed basket but the kind of base to use for the theme was a bit of a sticking point. In the end we went with a basket of sand toys – ice cream and the beach works great, right? The little sand strainer was the perfect thing to lift the items up so you can seem them above the top of the basket. The basket is filled with an ice cream scoop, ice cream cones and waffle bowls, and a selection of toppings like chocolate and caramel syrup, marshmallow cream, and of course, some red white and blue sprinkles.
With all of the free concerts in the park, drive-ins, or those fun DIY back yard movie theaters that summer has to offer, we went with a popcorn theme for our third basket. This one was also a good fit for our least expensive gift basket since it doesn’t take a lot to make this one cute. We grabbed a blue popcorn bowl for the base and smaller individuals bowls in red, then added some microwave popcorn and a selection of popcorn seasonings.
Our local grocery store always has these great hot dog roasting sticks in stock and we knew we wanted to use these for one of the gifts (I have a set and we use them ALL the time). The tricky part was figuring out how to package up something so long and skinny. In the end we went a similar route as the ice cream but instead of sand toys we tied everything to a children’s bat and ball set (baseball and hotdogs – totally works). We also added a set of hot dog baskets (red, white, and blue!) like you would get at the drive-in, condiment squirt bottles and a container of potato chips.
For our final gift basket we went with a back yard grilling/BBQ theme. The container is a plastic water pitcher to which we added some grilling tools, kebab baskets, corn on the cob holders, a grill brush with some barbeque sauce and a marinade, and a lighter.
I can’t decide which one I would like to win – can you? 😉 I can’t wait for our Bunco party, but first I’m going to enjoy the fireworks this weekend.
Summer, summer, summertime! Sometimes it’s a bit less enjoyable than others – especially when it’s hot. We hit 90 degrees here this week but the husband has been telling me that is their nightly low for the past few weeks over there on deployment. Ick. He has been complaining about the high temps since April and there’s not much we can do about it – except send a care package 😉 A Beat the Heat/Stay Cool care package, of course.
I’ve developed my own little system for decorating the inside of the boxes. I usually use a Medium Flat Rate box (though I think this one may have been a Regional Rate A which saves a bit on postage), which is easily covered by 5 sheets of patterned paper (works out great for using up my giant stash of scrapbook paper). I usually print the letting for the theme of the box directly onto the papers before attaching them to the interior of the box then finish it off with a couple of funny memes and don’t forget to add something extra to the bottom of the box. A little humor goes a long way.
Next step – add items that fit the theme (but won’t melt!).
I’m still surprised at how easy it is to fill these boxes if you just keep your eyes open when you’re out and about. Snow cone flavored gum?! Icee flavored candy?! Yes! And those cooling towels are great. My husband has been using them in various versions when outside working in the heat for years now but left all of his home because they were too brightly colored. I did my best to find an understanded looking one. They really should make them in camo print, doncha’ think? Maybe I should suggest that… 😉
The complete list of items I included in the box:
-freezer pops (he has a mini-fridge in his room so I know they can freeze these once they arrive)
-Icee slushies (note that any time I put things that are more liquid in the package I make sure to put them in zip-top bags just in case)
-Icee squeeze candy
-snow cone flavored gum
-“ice” breath drops
-drink mixes to add to water bottles (one of the biggest requested items since they can only drink bottled water and drink it by the gallon every day)
Other ideas might include sunscreen, chap stick (with SPF), exercise-type water bottles, etc.
Final step: box it up and send it on its way!
Interested in seeing other care package (or gift basket) ideas? Stay tuned – I will be trying to catch up on posting photos of the packages I have sent over the past few months. And don’t forget to check out my ideas for my First Deployment Care Package, Favorite Things Care Package, or May the 4th/Star Wars Mini Care Package.
I am down to needing only a couple more care package ideas before this deployment ends – woohoo! Do you have any favorite ideas you would like to share?!
Hello Wednesday! Has anyone checked their calendars lately? And did you do a double-take (as I did) when you realized just how quickly the last day of school is approaching?!? T-minus 15 (school) days and counting, according to my little guy on Monday, which translates to just over two weeks until school is out for the summer. That’s a bit late for our typical school year and I know a lot of schools are finishing up even sooner than that. So in the interest of being on the ball, ahead of the game, and all of those other clichés that help keep me from feeling stressed, I wanted to put together a fun little end of the year gift for the teachers – and do it now rather than later.
The first place I always turn for inspiration is my Pinterest Boards and it wasn’t long before I ran across this great printable Bucket List tag. So cute – and half the work is already done for me! So I printed it out and took a quick trip to the dollar store.
Don’t you just love the dollar store? I never leave there with just the items on my list, but I sure do have fun while I wander – and my kids or husband usually get some fun treat out of the deal. For this project I simply let myself wander, repeating the thoughts “summer…bucket list…summer” as the kids and I wandered through the store. In the end my collection included a fun pair of sunglasses, sunscreen, Sunny-D (catching the theme here, aren’t we?), a bag of gummy bears (Tyler’s pick for his teacher when I told him we needed a treat to add to the bucket), and some small buckets.
*the dollar store is my absolute favorite place to find inexpensive containers for gift baskets.
It looks pretty good all put together doesn’t it? Hopefully the teachers will like it and if not, they’ll still appreciate the sentiment.
I had purchased the buckets in a set of three so I had one leftover after putting together the two teacher gifts. I decided it would be great to use for a little Bucket of Fun for my kids on the last day of school. I wasn’t sure what I wanted in the bucket so I took a look at what I’ve done over the past few years (I wrote a blog post about some of our traditions last year. You can find it HERE)…then decided that wasn’t really helpful since my kids already had those items. 😛 So plan B was to just let things jump out at me and it worked great. One day at the grocery store I ran across those Milk Magic flavoring straws – Cotton Candy flavored! That’s something I knew my kids would love to try, so I picked them up. Another day Tyler was with me at the store and spotted the Slushies on the shelf. I told him we didn’t need them that day, then when he turned around I snuck them into the cart under the vegetables. And this past Sunday the bubble wands caught my daughter’s eye while we were looking for a birthday gift for a girl in Tyler’s class. 12 years old and she still thinks bubble wands are fun – great! So I let her grab the 5 pack, gave two to the kids to use that afternoon, put one in the birthday gift, and kept the other 2 for the bucket. Perfect.
Bring on the last day of school because we are now ready for it! Are you?? Maybe not, but just think of all those days we might be able to sleep in a bit instead of rushing out the door to school, and no homework and… 😉
For more Last Day of School (or teacher appreciation) gift ideas or End of School traditions with the kiddos feel free to check out:
–End of the Year Teacher Gifts in a Cup (my most Pinned blog post on Pinterest for the past month!)
–Super Powered Teacher Gift
–Crazy Cool Teacher Gift (this one was for Valentine’s Day but I think a “stay cool” spin on this idea would be awesome)
-my Last Day of School Traditions over the past few years