Hello, and happy Friday to you! If you’re new to this series, you might want to check out the previous posts before delving into today’s topic.
Today’s topic is a fun one! It’s all about packing up those wonderful (and very meaningful) care packages for our loved ones.
If your husband is in a remote area, care packages are vital to him. Even if he has some services (BX/PX or shops) available, there’s nothing like receiving a personal package from his family.
Below is a list of items Michael has confirmed that everyone enjoys and some special items, as well.
~ Snacks. You’ll need to know your husband’s accommodations to best determine appropriate snacks. Some snacks that travel well:
:: Dried fruit (apricots, raisins, cranberries, bananas, etc.)
:: Popcorn (pre-popped and bagged if no microwave available)
:: Trail mix
:: Chips and crackers
:: Girl scout cookies
:: Snack mixes (Chex mix, Cheerios snack mix, Gardetto’s, etc.)
:: Candy (chocolate is not advisable since it’s the desert and it gets, you know, HOT)
:: Drink mixes or coffee
~ CD’s with home videos or photos. Here are some videos we have made:
:: Jacob reading the letters he receives from Michael
:: Jacob has also practiced his regular reading on video
:: Jacob describing and showing off his Lego creations
:: Eli practicing his phonograms
:: Eli learning to ride his bike without training wheels
:: Rachael first learning to run
:: Rachael saying new words or singing songs
:: Rachael looking at pictures of Michael and being so giddy about seeing him and yelling “daddy, daddy!”
:: General playing and every day life
~ Photo books. There are constantly really great deals to be found on the internet for photo books and photo calendars. In most cases you can find either free items in which you only need to pay shipping or very deeply discounted rates on these items.
Last Christmas, there were many deals and freebies to be had. I was able to get a photo calendar for 2010 (I sent this with him when he left) and an 8×10 photo book (which I made ahead and stashed away for our 10th anniversary) for $0 out of pocket, after sales, deals and coupons.
~ Crafts. My kids love to do art projects and silly crafts for their daddy. They don’t have to be anything spectacular or perfect. Daddy will enjoy them all the same. The time and effort put into creating something special, will mean more to him than what it actually looks like. Some ideas:
:: Hand made cards
:: Necklaces made from yarn and stringing beads
:: Crafts done from kits
:: Holiday/birthday crafts
:: Drawings (or scribblings, as the case may be!)
~ School work. As our children complete assignments or do especially well with handwriting, math, etc, I put some of them aside to be included in the next package.
~ Books and magazines.
:: Favorite authors or books left at home that haven’t been read yet
:: Special books
:: Magazine subscriptions or just a special treat of a favorite magazine picked up at the store.
:: Crosswords, Sudokus or other puzzle books
:: Decks of cards or other card games (they’re small and easy to store and travel with)
:: Travel size versions of favorite games
~ Random items.
:: Anything you know would have special meaning or be useful
:: Items needed or specialty items not available at his current location
I also recommend looking at the USPS guidelines for military mailings.
The best and most economical way I’ve found to mail packages, is to use Priority Mail. The best deal is typically flat rate packages. You can also use Priority Mail rates to mail regular packages by weight, but I’ve found the flat rate packages are still (usually) the best rates.
Edited: Thanks to Sherry for reminding me – the USPS carries specific APO/FPO Priority Mail boxes. They are the large size priority box, but have a special APO/FPO message printed on them. The rate for these boxes is $2 less than the regular Priority Mail box of the same size. I was also told by the Post Master on my base, that they are suppose to give you the discount on that size box, even if you don’t use the specific APO/FPO box, but instead use the regular large Priority Mail box. As long as the address is an APO/FPO, you should be able to request the discounted rate.
Did I miss anything? Does your husband have a special item or treat they like to receive?