This will be an ongoing, updated blog with the latest care packages that I’ve sent my husband. I am posting these as a means to inspire other spouses and families for decorating the care packages that they send to their loved ones. Not every box that I send out is necessarily decorated on the inside, but if I’m throwing together a common theme in the box, or there’s something special in the box, I may decorate around that.
The first box that I decorated for my husband had a bunch of goodies in it for him to make the most of the heat of the country that he is in. Thus, the theme had to do with hot and tropical.
When my husband is deployed, I tend to go a little bit overboard with the “fun” things…instead of the 29 year old, wonderful, young man he is, I think of the man-child that resides within. This was the first care package that I decorated the inside of the box of, and admittedly, I feel like my efforts could have been matched by most elementary-aged kids in art class. I decorated the inside of the box as a beach scene, with a palm tree on one wall, the sun on another wall, and I added some whitecaps to the waves with paint, and gave the appearance of wet sand where it water/blue construction paper met the sand/brown construction paper. I also threw in the shark toy that comes with the Shark Bite drink from Joe’s Crab Shack from one of the trips my husband I took together there, in which I stuffed the toy fish that came in our water from Geddy’s. Hehe!
As for the contents of this box, fortunately most essentials are taken care of on the FOB where my husband is, so I got to have some fun with this one. I threw in the bubble kit, a water balloon kit, a bunch of leis for him and his buddies to throw on (if at least for a group photo for me), and a decorative palm tree that I picked up at the dollar store (which my husband tells me that he put on his nightstand). I also threw in, going with the theme, tropical trail mix, as well as spicy dried mango slices. And, sticking with the “hot” theme, wasabi peas. I threw in a couple of personal things as well – the colored sheets seen are from the Spouse Box that I received, that I colored for him to hang up in his locker.
The second care package that I decorated and sent out was full of personal-care products.
I also recommend reusing other boxes, if you have them, when you can, instead of using APO Flat Rate boxes all of the time. Depending on the weight of what you are sending, you can save on postage this way. Sending to APO’s, you qualify for the domestic rate of shipping, instead of sending at the international rate. Also, the APO Flat Rate boxes will save you on shipping instead of using the standard flat rate boxes. And, as another wife has recently informed me, you can save a couple of dollars on your APO postage, paying something like $13.80 instead of the $15.90 you’ll pay at the post office, if you buy and print your postage online. I am told this also makes the customs form easier to complete. So, you do have options, and it doesn’t have to be complicated.
In the Splish Splash box, as you can see, I decorated the top with a couple of construction-paper rubber duckies, and made bubbles for the bottom of the box. In this box, I included single bottles of mouthwash (to be used by my husband or shared), a fresh toothbrush, shampoo, body wash, and a bunch of Marvel character and Ninja Turtle compressed wash cloths. Because, deployment means that the inner child gets spoiled to me, and I just can’t help myself. These were intended for him to share, as I know a few of the guys out there are not ashamed of their inner man-child, and love Marvel comics and the Ninja Turtles. I never did find out if he kept them all for himself or shared them…
Then, my husband asked for some more of his books. He’s a reader, and loves his historical fiction books, and had already exhausted the books that he had taken overseas with him.
To decorate the inside of this box, I went to Goodwill and picked up a steamy romance novel for a dollar or so. I know I might receive some hate for tearing up a book to do this…but as soon as this idea came to me, I knew I had to do it. I skimmed through the book to pick out some steamy selections – there were quite a few. I made sure to stick those as whole pages on the inside of the top flaps. (Notice the flames on those pages? Hot, hot, hot!) I collaged together pieces of other pages to decorate the remainder of the box, including a cut out of the title of the book, and the lovers embracing from the front cover.
I also packed a large bag of beef jerky in the box. Because who DOESN’T love beef jerky when they are deployed?
I had toyed with other ideas of going with a Book Worm theme, but instead went with the book-page collage theme. I have more of his books to send out when he needs them, so this will be an idea that I’ll revisit at a later time.
Next, I sent my husband out some more things to have fun with. He didn’t quite appreciate how I decorated this box as much as I thought he would.
Some of the contents of this box are obvious from this photo – decks of cards, “magic mitts” Velcro catching game, travel Battleship, a puzzle, the Handicorn that I picked up in Arizona. There’s a wooden game set on the bottom that my Dad picked up from Goodwill, that has a few different wooden and peg games in it. I picked him up an Adult Coloring book (that you can kind of see), that has hilarious situational pictures to color or finish, and puzzles. And of course, color pencils (which came in my Spouse Box care package in August).
Now, I expected my husband to find the humor in my decorating choice here, because he and I both love horror movies. And it was a GAME box. It just made sense to me. Instead, when he called me after receiving it, he was weary of my decorating choice, finding it more sinister than humorous. Care Package fail?
The fifth care package that I decorated had a mis-mash of items in it, but I decorated the inside flaps with scrapbook paper that correlated with one of the items that I had packed in it. Can you guess what that might be?
With this box, the only thing that I really decorated that is attached to the box is the inner flaps of the box. The “paintings” on black chalkboard scrapbook paper placed in the bottom are not attached – other items for him to hang up where he can, if he chooses to. (The painting on the left was inspired by this drawing that I had googled, by Katherine Barron). Both of these were painted on the chalkboard scrapbook paper, with Crayola paints.
In this box, I had a mis-mash of items. Water guns that I bought on clearance, that I hope they can have some fun with, some workout clothes that my husband requested, a new baseball hat for him while he’s allowed to wear civilians, photos from Bar Harbor, a dream catcher, a pen specifically for writing my letters with, and, did you guess it? The item that I decorated around for the theme was an android phone that he can use on wifi to communicate with me!
I am currently in the process of decorating a Halloween box to send out for my husband to share the contents of (Trick or Treat?, soldiers). I have another themed box to put together to send out to another one of my soldier friends that I send things to, as well as my husband’s Halloween theme box to put together. Stay posted for these boxes to be uploaded and shared on this post! I will try to update this post at least monthly.
UPDATE: NOVEMBER 1, 2015
Since my husband has received his Halloween box, and the female soldier that I also send care packages to has received her box, I can share the Halloween boxes that I sent out in October.
First, the box that I sent to the female soldier…
I had fun decorating both boxes, which were very festive. Both boxes were decorated with scrapbook paper from a bundle called “Hocus Pocus” that I picked up at AC Moore. In this box, I packed a bunch of sensible goodies – toothpaste, mouth wash, face wipes, tissues, deoderant…and some Halloween fun – the glow in the dark wands, to be passed around. I also threw in a bunch of Halloween confetti (or, fun-fetti as I like to call it), and I believe I also threw in some other Halloween swag.
My husband’s box also contained some Halloween swag. His box was complete with spiders, severed fingers, and of course, “fun-fetti.”
My husband’s box was decorated with the scrapbook paper, as well as construction paper, paper webs, markers, glitter glue, and paint. I had a lot of fun decorating this box and trying these design ideas.
In his box, which my parents helped me pack, I loaded with candy, Halloween decorations (more than the spiders you see pictured), snacks, and some costume accessories and more glow toys (swords, Devil pitchforks, and axes).
I was excited to hear that both boxes arrived in-tact, and that the contents were enjoyed and appreciated by everyone. My husband hung up the giant spider in the entryway of his room, and put other decorations out on display. And the costume accessories and glow toys were scoffed up almost immediately!
I hope that you all had a wonderful Halloween. And if you’re someone who sends care packages, I hope that yours are/were appreciated! I saw a bunch of Halloween box designs from other MILSO’s posted on Facebook, and they were all wonderful, too!
The thing to remember, is that no matter how you decorate your boxes, or don’t decorate your boxes, so long as the contents are considerate and appreciated by your recipient, that’s the detail that matters.