A Piece of Work, Care Packages, Gifts

4th of July in a Box

This last deployment was the first time my husband was ever deployed over 4th of July. Usually he was getting ready to leave around that time or hadn’t quite gotten there yet. This past year, he was supposed to return stateside the end of July.

I remember getting strict instructions not to send anything to him the last month of deployment. He was worried he wouldn’t get it before he left for home. When it came down to it though, he teasingly stated, “Well I already know I have a 4th of July package coming.” He did not.

I’m not one to disappoint though. So I wracked my brain and scrambled to put together one EPIC 4th of July care package. The only problem with sending a care package with this theme is… what the heck do you put in it?

You can’t send fireworks, that’s a BIG no no. You can’t send family. These men are already surrounded by patriotism. They bleed red, white and blue. They are over there for our freedom and understand the price of it more than most. It doesn’t get more 4th of July than that.

So I got creative.

What can I send that’s LIKE fireworks? What can I send that is patriotic that they may not have and may be of use? What can I send that would give them some FUN?

The answer was this:

The cap would keep him cool and I knew a lot of his civilian clothes to hang out in were getting stained with the red African dirt so this gave him some more shirts as well. I knew they didn’t have many coolers to keep their drinks cool for their BBQs, so I sent them one for the occasion. As for the Pop Rocks… it was the only legal form of fireworks I could think of to ship.

To decorate the box I purchased:

I lined the box with Black Construction Paper (*side note* for those of you who don’t know this, priority flat rate boxes are the way to go). Then I dispersed the firework stickers throughout. Last, but not least, I poked holes through the interior flaps of he box and strung the firework sections I’d cut off the stringer through them so that it would look like fireworks popping out when he opened them.

Enjoy fellow military wives!

A Piece of Work, Gifts

Herb Infusion

I don’t know about you, but I’m on a fairly tight budget. Between building a house and having this thing called a homestead, not to mention that my husband is from a larger family, we try to save money where we can. That being said, I do my best to give gifts that will be truly appreciated and used by the receiver.

Gift giving has always been one of my favorite things to do and I’ve prided myself in giving good gifts. So no way was I going to compromise my reputation and not still find quality gifts. In my opinion… even if you don’t cook, someone in your home probably does and we ALL eat. So I’ve found homemade, from the homestead, gifts to be a great hit with our family. I mean just think of all the possibilities!

The first homemade homestead gift we gave was herb infused extra-virgin olive oil and Serrano pepper infused apple-cider vinegar. All we had to buy were the dispensers! At first I thought that may be a little costly, but I was able to find some reasonable ones with good quality.

The supplies I used for each set is as follows:

2 Oil Dispensers

-2 Sprigs of a Dried Herb of Your Choosing

8 oz Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (may substitute other oil as desired)

8 oz Apple Cider Vinegar (may substitute other vinegar as desired)

– 2 Dried Serrano Peppers

(Optional: May substitute Serrano Peppers for 2 other dried hot peppers or 2 sprigs of dried herbs)

To assemble the gifts, remove the spouts from both dispensers. Place 2 sprigs of dried herb in one bottle and 2 dried Serrano Peppers in the other. Pour extra-virgin olive oil on top of herbs until the oil is 1 inch below the top of the bottle. Repeat this process with Apple Cider Vinegar over the Serrano Peppers until the Apple Cider Vinegar is approximately 1 inch below the top of the bottle. Place both spouts back on the bottles.

Let both sit at room temperature for 2-4 weeks (may be left longer) for the flavor to fully infuse the liquids. Present your homemade gift in a gift basket or with dispensers tied together with a seasonal bow.

*Note: When using Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, a film may appear floating at the top of the liquid and get thicker. This is the result of the “Mother” in the raw Apple Cider Vinegar and is a normal phenomenon*

A Piece of Work, Do It Yourself, Gifts, The Piggy Bank

Grow with Love

Photo By: Devon Garton Photography

Almost everything about our wedding was DIY and centered around nature. We both love being outdoors, love living in the country and attempt to participate in practices that limit our footprint on this world. So what better gift to give our guests than something to grow?

Initially I’d thought of giving small starts of my own African Violets. However, that was a bit time intensive and would be a bit more costly since we’d need pots. Given the fact that we were also trying to keep the wedding costs down, I preferred not to do that.

So I decided upon seeds. But what seeds? Daisies are my favorite flower and would be the centerpiece of the bouquets, not to mention they grow easily. So they were the clear choice. Now I just had to decide on a cute saying. I searched Pinterest, but didn’t find anything that I loved.

So I came up with my own. “Grow with Love.”

The next step was to actually create it. I already had an HP 4500 printer, which would work for the project. So, I only needed ink, seed packets and the seed. Oh and of course, a design. So I whipped one up. Painstakingly whipped one up, I should say, as I used trial and error to find out how to get all aspects perfectly centered when it actually printed on the packet.

The supplies I used for my project, are as follows:

Daisy Seeds-3

Blank Seed Envelopes -3


Seed Packets for Favors Free with Subscription (enable editing)

After I printed off all my envelopes, my mother and I funneled 1/2 oz of seeds into each envelope. We prepared 100 packets and still had a large amount of seed left over. In fact, 3 years later, we STILL have seed left over, including one whole 1/2 lb package that had never been opened. This should give you a vague idea of how many packets you could make with this particular amount of seed.

For final touches, we placed them on the guest book table at our wedding in a cute little galvanized bucket. I think the turned out pretty great, even if I do say so myself.

A Piece of Work, Care Packages, Gifts, Traditions, Where the Heart Is

BBQ in a Box

For those of you who don’t know, my husband is an Air Force Veteran. Since this is a recent development, most of our relationship has been that as an active duty military couple. Of Eliott’s 9 years in, we were dating, engaged or married for 5 years, and friends the prior 4. Thus, I got really good at care packages. And I mean REAL good folks..

I thought I’d put my talent to good use and share some of my boxes with you all. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy having my husband home all the time, but why let the gift go to waste, right? As Memorial Day is coming up this weekend, I thought it would be appropriate if the first box I shared with you was my “BBQ in a Box.”

On my husband’s deployment to Africa, they would barbecue about once a month. The chow hall was nice enough to provide the meat and a few of the guys, including my husband, would fire up the grill (or whatever open flame it was they used). After this seemed to be an established trend, I decided to send my husband some extra equipment since there seemed to be a shortage of certain items.

Thus the “BBQ in a Box” was born.

All us military folks know that a good care package needs decoration. So we’ll get into that first. I’m sure that I could have been more extreme with my decor, but I chose to go with simple black construction paper background and stick on letters “Barbecue Master.” For that little extra something I added some red and orange glitter, for the embers if you will.

The contents of the box were as follows:

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes (sometimes they were without hot water to wash with)

Wet Ones

-BBQ Spatula

-BBQ Tongs

-BBQ Basting Brush

-BBQ Meat Fork

-Favorite BBQ seasonings

McCormick Grill Mates Brown Sugar Bourbon

McCormick Grill Mates Smokehouse Maple

McCormick Grill Mates Sweet and Smoky Rub

-Grill Mit

-Grill Apron

Technically, BBQ sauces are not an item you should mail, as they are considered liquids and those are not allowed with USPS. I did send my husband some shave cream one time, not thinking about it being in an aerosol can and technically a liquid. That particular package was confiscated.

*Make sure you check the rules and regulations of your postal service and of the country your military personnel is deployed in before mailing your package.*