Summer Fun for Kids

Summer is in full swing – more than halfway over for some kids – and parents are always looking for things to keep their kids entertained during these long, summer days.

If you are one of those parents – good news! I’ve got some novel ideas for you.

Check out the ideas below that you can do with your kids, or even let them do on their own. I’ve also added some new summer products to my Etsy shop, and they are so much fun for kids (and adults, too). Got friends whose kids are just as bored as yours? Have your kids send them some mail.

1. 3D popsicle postcards

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I made some of these last year and shared a tutorial by Sandra Denneler on how to make them. They’re pretty easy to make, but if you’d rather buy them instead, you can find them here.

2. beach ball

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You can mail a beach ball directly in the package like I’m doing, or you can blow it up and write the address right on the ball. Either way, the USPS will ship it, and it’s a fun addition to the mail. These balls are available at Walmart.

3. 3D ice cream sandwich postcards

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Summer just begs for ice cream, and these are such a fun way to let people know you’re thinking about them over the summer. While I’d rather have a real one, I’ve put some here in the Etsy shop for your convenience.

4. flag postcards

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Bright, sturdy postcards will grab their attention immediately. Whether it’s the 4th of July or not, these flags are a sure way to make that someone smile. Send them to men and women who have served their country. A thank you card is always appreciated.

5. fun envelopes

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If a colored envelope is better than a white envelope, then envelopes like these  (and these also) beat them all! Baseball, grass, pool water, sand, clouds, a picnic blanket . . . They’re cheap, and they’re just waiting for you to send them to friends, cousins, and everyone else!

Give your kids something fun to do this summer and maybe pick out some things for yourself. This is a great time to spread some summer cheer!

 

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It’s allergy season – help a friend out!

Ah, spring!

Flip flops, flowers, and fresh fruit. Those are some of the best parts of spring.

Unfortunately, for 50+ million Americans, it’s also the time for Flonase.

Let’s send some allergy season love in the mail. I guarantee that your allergy-suffering friends will love to find something fun like this in their mailbox.

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Have you seen the new Kleenex boxes out? They’re not boxes at all; they’re cylinders. They’re surprisingly sturdy and hold up great in the mail. Find them at any grocer or even Sam’s.

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I also found this Isaac Mizrahi design, and it reminded me of a chic friend. It’s not as durable as the cylinders, but it’s better than the regular boxes.

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That’s what I’m sending out today.

What about you?
Do you know any friends suffering from allergies?
Would you mail something like this?

 

Friday’s Fun Foods – April 2016

Welcome to the very first round of Friday’s Fun Foods! 

Today I’m combining two great things – mail and food! Who’s in?

I mentioned last month that I love food holidays, and I really do. So once a month, I’ll help you get prepped on which fun food holidays are coming up so you can brighten someone’s day with them.

April has some interesting food holidays. Check these out:

  • April 2  National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day
  • April 5 National Caramel Day
  • April 11 National Cheese Fondue Day
  • April 16 National Eggs Benedict Day
  • April 20 Lima Bean Respect Day (who knew?!)
  • April 22 National Jelly Bean Day
  • April 23 National Picnic Day
  • April 29 National Shrimp Scampi Day
  • April 30 National Raisin Day

Of course, there are more food holidays than these, and there are so many possibilities for mail! Here are some ideas to get you started.

National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day

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Check out the pic at the bottom of this post. I’ve got mailing labels directly onto the jar of peanut butter. (Plastic jar, of course.) Make sure you get the whipped peanut butter that’s less than 16 ounces. It’s in a different mail category and is cheaper to mail!

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Or if you have a PB&J-loving friend who eats gluten-free, you can mail these. The box may get dented in the mail, but how fun to get a box of fun treats just like this in the mailbox!

National Caramel Day

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It is true that you can mail a bag. I have one ready to go. But I also put some caramels in a clean juice bottle. The postage can go right on the bottle, and your recipient will be delighted to find this in the mailbox. (Don’t do this in super hot weather. Caramels can be like chocolate and get too soft in hot weather.)

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National Jelly Bean Day

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Yet again, you CAN mail a bag of candy as is. This bag is actually a great example of one to mail. The extra air inside prevents the candy from getting smashed. Just add address labels and postage, and send it on its merry way! Side note, I think this looks like the yummiest bag of jelly beans!

National Raisin Day

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This 6-pack of boxes will mail well! I’m adding some extra packaging tape around it to make sure the labels and postage don’t come off.

Here are some things I have ready to go for April.

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What food holidays will you celebrate with friends and family?
Tell me in the comments!

Oat-mail Kit

If you liked this post about mailing a drink named after a happy little bird, then you’re also going to like what I have for you today.

Yesterday was the last day of InCoWriMo. It really has been a challenge, especially with sicknesses and work schedule changes. You’ll have to forgive me for being late with this. It just wasn’t happening on time this month.

So for my 29th day of consecutive mailings, I’m sending another food kit. But this time, instead of a drink, I’m mailing oatmeal!

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It’s another Trim Healthy Mama recipe called Sweet Dreams Cookie Bowl Oatmeal that I found in the THM cookbook, and it’s amazing! As always, I tweak recipes to make them my own, and I think this oatmeal tastes just like no bake cookies in a bowl. It has seriously changed my mornings. (I highly recommend getting the cookbook and trying out the THM plan.)

I’ve been telling some friends that they need to try this, and I figured the best way to share a great recipe with them is just to send them all of the ingredients. So here they are, ready to go in their little package.

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Sadly, once I wrapped the box and took it to the post office, I forgot to take a picture. I only had my phone with me and had no more room on my phone for pictures. But it was wrapped beautifully!

I hope the recipient enjoys this oatmeal kit and finds this to be an easy way to try a new recipe.

What recipe would you consider mailing to a friend or loved one? Can you think of anything I should try?
Tell me in the comments below!

Postal Pistachios

Guess what… 

I love food holidays.

No really. I really enjoy scouting out great food holidays and incorporating them into my family’s meals, or education, or life skills.

And I also enjoy figuring out clever ways to send fun mail for food holidays.

So, with that in mind, I bring you my next mail piece for InCoWriMo . . .

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World Pistachio Day!

Yes, that’s right. Friday, February 26th is World Pistachio Day, and I’m celebrating by sending a package to my husband at work. It would be kind of difficult to send him a package at home since I’m the one that gets the mail. It’s not really a surprise if I just hand it to him. But if he gets it at work, well, that might be fun!

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He likes the kind in the shells, but since I wanted to get a package that was tighter and easier to mail, I bought the shelled kind. I wrote a note and folded it before adding the addresses and taping it on super well.

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I mailed it today, so he should get it Friday. I can’t wait to hear from him when it shows up!

Still not done yet … I need your help!

I’m working on a list of fun food holidays and will feature the foods that YOU, my awesome readers, want to know about.

What food holidays would you like me to find for you? Coffee? Spaghetti? Shrimp? Cupcakes?

Let’s figure out how to brighten someone’s day with fun mail for food holidays!

Tell me what you want in the comments below . . .

What do m&ms and Burt’s Bees have in common?

They make a great mail combo!

Well, not the actual m&ms, but the container they come in. You know. . . these tubes.

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We ended up with several of these because my daughter opened them at the store when I wasn’t looking. (And m&ms weren’t the only candies we ended up having to buy because of that.)

And a tube of Burt’s Bees fits perfectly inside.

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Add a note, some stamps, an address, and there ya go!

I’m mailing this tomorrow, but I wrote the note today, so it’s still counting for today for InCoWriMo. (Check this out to find out why I’m sending out mail every day this month.)

Mail Tip: Be sure not to mail chapsticks or lip balms during hot months. They’ll get nasty in the heat. 

A Challenge For You

Today starts InCoWriMo.

Inco-what?

International Correspondence Writing Month

We who write – and even some who usually don’t – know February as InCoWriMo. We pledge to write something to someone every day of February. (Read more about InCoWriMo here.)

I like to write, but I honestly don’t write something to someone every day.

2016 will be my first year to do this. It’s a challenge for me. And now, it’s a challenge for you, too.

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Use fun envelopes to grab someone’s attention as soon as they check the mail.

Even if you don’t write much, I want you to try to write now.

Write one something to one someone during February. And if that is really doable, then write two somethings. Or five. Or 29.

Don’t worry. I’ve got some helps for you below. And I’d love to hear from you if you choose to do this. Email me at lesliesleigh@gmail.com.

First, choose a recipient:

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Second, find something fun to send.

You could totally just write a note on plain paper and send it off in a plain envelope.

Or you could buy a greeting card. Try some stationery. Target always has great options. If you’re feeling really crafty, you can even make some.

If you’re feeling ambitious, attach your note to some 3D mail like a pack of gum, or a bag of tissues, or jumbo straws.

Now, write.

It doesn’t really matter what you write. Chances are that the recipient will just be glad to hear from you. Tell them how you’re doing. About family, the weather, your job. Ask them questions. Give them a compliment.

I’ll be updating my Instagram with all the outgoing mail this month. Keep up with me there (follow thelittleredflag), or come back here to see special things going out. I have some pretty cool things lined up.

So, tell me. Are you up for the challenge?

Valentine’s Day Giveaway

Relax. You’ve still got a couple weeks before it’s here. But don’t relax too much because you know how quickly these things creep up on us.

I haven’t actually sent out Valentine’s cards in … years. So I figured it’s about time to try that again adult-style.

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This week I decided to make Valentine’s cards from scraps I had. Did you hear that? I made these cute cards from scraps! I’ll be sending these out in the next week or so.

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What about you . . . Do you mail Valentine’s cards to anyone? Do you help your children mail them to friends who have moved away? What about sending one to your neighbor who’s going through a rough time? Or the woman who lost her husband? Or the kids who lost their mother? Who do you know that could use some love this holiday?

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Let’s spread some love. Let me help you do that with these great Valentine’s Day cards.

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The Giveaway! The winner of this giveaway will receive five Valentine’s Day notecards. Envelopes are included and ready for you to add your own flair. (For ideas on adding flair, check out this post on envelope art, or this one I wrote last June, or this recent one using some found materials.) Giveaway runs January 28th – February 1st. Good luck!

Friday Favorites – food box flair

How to add flair using food boxes

To be honest, today’s favorite is fairly new. As in, I only started it last week.

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But once the idea hit me, I couldn’t quit thinking of things to do with it. Because of the versatility and the potential for fun, I see it being a favorite, so I’m going to go ahead and share it with you.

I bought this box of cereal for my kids to eat the day that my husband and I went to see the new Star Wars movie. We made a big deal of them staying home with a sitter, so they got special SW-themed cereal and snacks.

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I love the Yoda on this box. You may not be able to tell, but the detail is actually really good for a cereal box. Once the cereal had all been eaten, we put the box beside the trash can, too large to fit inside. I was staring at it when it hit me.

“I’ll cut him out!”

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And from there, I just kept finding things to cut out.

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I was also really excited to find the Hungry Jack box since I know someone named Jackson. Then I started thinking about all the things that use that name… Cracker Jack, Apple Jacks, Jack Daniel’s.

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I don’t know why I never thought to use food boxes before. They’re thick and sturdy cardboard, and as long as I use the proper adhesive, there shouldn’t be a problem going through the mail machines.

So what do you think? Is this something you’d try?

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Coffee Postcard

A couple weeks ago, I had the privilege of guest blogging over at Middle Places. (They are awesomely inspirational; I highly recommend you check out the vastness of their blog.) I showed everyone my re-creation of Sandra Denneler’s cake postcards.

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It was a fun project and a fun post. I loved it!

But I had three friends with birthdays on the same day, and the sponge for the project only made two cake slices.

Enter my creative side.

It’s not often that I create something cool like this on my own. I’m really good at following tutorials for projects, but devising them myself just isn’t my forte (yet). But I was feeling so inspired by Sandra, and I needed another cool, 3D birthday postcard to send to my friend.

This friend just happens to be a Starbucks lover. Two summers ago, when she and I still lived in the same city, we went to Starbucks with some other girlfriends once a week. And that tradition kind of carried over into the fall and winter, too. It was great!

And that makes this Starbucks coffee postcard the perfect 3D birthday postcard for her!

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If you’ve seen Sandra’s cake postcard tutorial, you’ll find this similar in a few ways.

1) Gather Supplies. I always advocate for getting everything ready ahead of time. It just makes creating the project so much easier when everything is within arm’s reach.

2) Cut the cup in half, and cut a pool noodle to fit the inside of your half-cup.

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3) Glue the pool noodle into the cup. Trim as needed. Place the cup face down onto the back side of the cardstock and trace the cup to make the postcard. Set the postcard aside.

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4) Fill all the empty space with caulk. I wanted to use tan caulk for the coffee (the same tan caulk that was used for chocolate icing on the cake), but I didn’t have enough for the entire cup. I had a lot of white caulk, so I used that on the bottom part that wouldn’t be seen.

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5) Smooth out the caulk and make it level with the sides of the cup. This is an important step because you don’t want any empty space inside the cup. Add a dollop of white caulk for whipped cream if you’d like.

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6) Let dry. It took this cup four days to dry well enough for me to feel comfortable moving on with the process. It’s a LOT of caulk, so it will take a long time to dry.

7) Once the caulk is completely dry, glue the postcard onto the back.

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8) Add a note, address and postage. This cost about $3 to mail. Shipping costs can vary, so take yours to your local post office for accurate pricing.

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9) Delight a friend with a 3D coffee postcard!

Do you know a coffee lover in your life who would be excited to find this in their mailbox? Try it and let me know how it turns out!