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Care Packages ~ It’s a Love/Hate

August 26, 2009

Okay so let me clarify the title of this blog before I ruffle some feathers. Nothing gives me more joy than to search the aisles of my local Target in search for the perfect things to send my man. Lately though, it’s been more like searching for a needle in a haystack. Sigh.

I admit, the first one I sent was embarassingly hilarious. Of course he said he loved it and I’m sure he did but I came across a list from the dark ages or something. The odds of the guys needing a disposable camera are slim to none. Chances are if your soldier doesn’t have a digi cam, someone in his unit does and with Facebook…those pics get passed all around. The second time around he had let me know what he needed so it was better. Now, I’m at a loss. I came across a fabulous blog that helped give me some fun ideas for this package…

For the Love of a Soldier
http://asoldierslove.blogspot.com/

Here’s a list of things I’ve sent before:

*Mix CD’s (yep they have iTunes but good luck downloading a song!)
*Trail Mix
*Beef Jerky (if you can afford to make it yourself, it’s much cheaper!)
*NERF Guns x2 with extra “bullets”
*TONS of cards with handwritten notes inside (he opened them all at once)
*LifeSavers
*Goldfish
*Gummy Snacks
*Magazines (UFC, GQ, Maxim, etc.)
*Disc Launcher Toy ($1 section at Wal-Mart)
*Febreeze Air Freshener
*Gum (Big League Chew was a hit!)
*Nerds
*Combos
*Homemade Rice Krispy Treats (he said they were good when they got there!)
*Airplane Launcher Toy ($1 section at Wal-Mart)
*Double Stuff Oreos
*Body Wash
*Phone Card (make sure it’s the AT&T International one!)

Regardless of what you send, your soldier will love it. Just getting something from home makes all the difference in the world. It can take anywhere between 2-4 weeks to get a package overseas, so be patient. Since the withdrawl on June 30th, the guys are finding themselves with more and more time on their FOB’s. Think of things they can use to pass the time like card games, board games, toys, crosswords, computer games, soduko, books, handheld video games, etc. Check with them and see if they have an Xbox, Playstation, or other video game console on base. If so, you can grab some games at your local New/Used video game dealer like GameStop. Keep in mind whatever you send has a really good chance of not coming back since they carry most everything on their back. Don’t send it if you can’t part with it or it’s not small enough for them to tote back home.

A word of advice from my soldier on sending homemade treats:
Use Ziploc bags, a straw, and suck as much air out of the bag as possible. I bought one of those handy-dandy sealer device things…the handheld ones…not the fancy “serious” models. It was crap. One bag out of the three it came with held the seal. I sent my krispies in those bags and then wrapped the rest in double plastic wrap and stuck them in one of those reusable ziploc containers. He said they were yummy when he got them and he shared them with some of the other guys. He tells me brownies would survive too. If you’re sending things that will easily get moldy…add a piece of bread or two to the container. Just be sure to tell your soldier not to eat it. The bread will get moldy instead, so be sure to seperate it from the goodies 🙂

 Just use caution and avoid aka DON’T send the following:

*Chocolate of any sort during the Summer months (this should be a no-brainer)
*Pornos (DVD’s, mags, etc)
*Tobacco
*Alcohol
*Potato Chips (explosion central)
And just items in general that won’t survive 130 degree weather! No matter how many times a soldier asks you to send alcohol or any prohibited items…JUST DONT DO IT. They know better and this causes problems for everyone else in the group. One sour grape can spoil it for everyone. My guy has to open his packages in front of his superiors all the time now because someone in the group decided to break the rules. Nice.

Another great idea I wish I had time for was a mini scrapbook. You can buy inexpensive paper ones or small hardbacked ones at craft stores, Target, Wal-Mart, etc. Fill them with memories of home like pictures of his friends, family, your children, your pets, etc. Fill in blank pages with notes on how much he means to you and how you can’t wait to see him agan. Use quotes, bible verses, etc. to fill the rest of the space. You don’t need to be Martha Stewart…it’s super thoughtful and super comforting to him to have that piece of home he can keep close-by.

If anyone has any other ideas, PLEASE comment below and let us know. We’re in this together!!!
~Shan

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