Category Archives: Deployment

Planning for and thriving during deployments.

Easter Care Package 2015

Happy Easter Themed Care Package

If you want to keep up with special events in the military, you really have to plan ahead. Easter may be a month away, but if your soldier is deployed then you need to HOP TO and get your Happy Easter Themed Care Package packed and shipped as soon as possible so that it will arrive at his/her APO in time for the Holiday.

There are so many ways to pack a Military Care Package. You can buy a bunch of junk food and pack it all up, send some much-needed personal care items or other hard-to-find sundries, you can be romantic or kid-friendly-fun. In some ways, a theme – like Easter – makes it so much easier to find goodies and pack a flat rate box to the gills. There are some months when bags of chips, gum, and chapstick are all that is called for. But, for a family-oriented Holiday like Easter, it is especially hard for deployed soldiers to miss out on family time and traditions, so I like to make Holiday Care Packages as special and personalized as possible.

For Easter, there are so many fun ideas you can imagineer yourself or HUNT for on the internet.

The first step is to get your package. For APO deliveries, you may want to ‘shop around’ for shipping prices at USPS. In general, shipping within the USA is cheapest for bulky/heavy packages if you use flat rate boxes. But oftentimes, when shipping to an APO, you will save money by using your own box and shipping ground with USPS; the box charge is for the distance to the nearest military postal distribution center. Keep in mind that you will have to fill out a customs form for any APO package. My care packages typically fit into the Medium or Large flat rate boxes. This really allows you to pack in a lot of goodies. Ensure that you double-check your APO address is correct and still in effect during the timeline you plan to ship your care package.

Next, choose your theme. I chose a fun, Spring and Easter Rabbit inspired theme for my box. I purchased some blue and green tissue paper and adhered it to the insides of my box with some Spray Adhesive (this is MUCH easier than tape or glue! Just make sure you are in a ventilated space and that you cover your counters to protect from over-spray). The blue paper I adhered to the box flaps for my spring blue sky, and the green tissue paper I adhered to the box bottom and sides, just slightly overlapping the box flaps. Next, I cut slivers into the overlapping green tissue paper for the ‘grass’. This makes the box a little less boring and more Easter-themed.

Easter 'grass' and blue skies

Easter ‘grass’ and blue skies

I decided to send an Easter themed box this month so most of the candy and goodies I purchased are Easter things. However, my deployed spouse has a few favorite things that I included that are not Easter-y, so I ‘hid’ those in the bottom of the box beneath Easter grass so as not to ruin the box aesthetic when it is first opened. I included trail mix, multi-vitamins, chapped hand lotion and gummy oranges.

Non-Easter goodies hidden in box bottom

Non-Easter goodies hidden in box bottom

Easter grass layer

Easter grass layer

Nestled in the ‘grass’ are plastic eggs filled with Maltball easter eggs and chapstick, Cadbury creme eggs, and a chocolate bunny. The box did not seem quite full enough so on top, I packed in a couple boxes of Peeps and a bag of mixed chocolates.

Easter themed goodies on top layer

Easter themed goodies on top layer

Fill the box up!

Fill the box up!

To finish off the box, I hand painted a fun phrase on the inside box flaps. I chose “We Can’t Wait to Spring into Your Arms.” Some other ideas include “Have a Hoppy Easter!” and “Some Bunny Loves You!” For inside the Easter card, I painted my toddler’s hand (after covering her head to toe in a smock) with white and gold paint and placed her hand print on one side, and then I traced its outline with a sharpie to give it bunny characteristics, eyes, whiskers, etc.

Decorate Box and Include a Card

Decorate Box and Include a Card

Kid's card to Deployed Spouse

Kid’s card to Deployed Spouse

If you have kiddos, it’s always a good idea to include artwork, cards, and/or photos of them in every care package. When I’m feeling particularly well-organized, I include iMovies too. Deployed soldiers miss out on so much at home; try to do every little thing you can to bring everyone closer, especially during the holidays.

What do you include in YOUR Easter Care Packages? I’d love to hear from you!

Blue Star Card Program

BluestarCardlogo

The Blue Star Card program is available to Army families in Hawaii. It is a “discount and activities program intended to enhance the well being of families during the stressful time of separation from your soldier.” It provides discounts for Family and MWR events, facilities and childcare. Examples of discounts include 10% off on post restaurants, 10% off craft classes, pool passes, bowling fees, and at outdoor recreation, and 12 free days of pet care, and various childcare benefits.

To be eligible, you must:

  • be a spouse of an army active duty/reserve/national guard soldier or DA civilian on orders overseas (includes deployment, unaccompanied PCS and TDY)
  • if applicable, register your children with Child, Youth and School Services (CYS Services)

To register for your Blue Star Card, bring the following materials to Army Community Services (ACS) at Schofield Barracks or Fort Shafter:

  1.  copy of your spouse’s orders
  2. your Military ID
  3. Completed Blue Star Card application (Available online at the Blue Star Card website)
  4. Completed Photo Release waiver (also online)

For more information, read the Blue Star Card program overview brochure.