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. 

Friday Favorites

Twenty years.

That’s how long I looked for her.

We became friends in the fourth grade. She was my first bestie! When her family moved 500 miles away without notice, I was left with a friendship hole that I didn’t know how to fill at the ripe old age of ten.

Somehow we managed a few letters back and forth at the beginning. But keeping up with current addresses wasn’t exactly easy for grade schoolers, especially before the magic of Google and social media were available.

Her birthday – June 18th – became my favorite day of the year. I’d internally wish her a happy birthday every year. I even tried to plan my wedding on the same day. (It ended up not working out, so I planned it for the week afterward.) As I passed life milestones, I found myself wondering if she were doing the same thing. Did she go to college? Was she married? Did she have children?

I looked for her for twenty years and never found her even with the help of Google and social media. I made other friends along the way, as I was sure she had also, but a part of me just always wanted to find her.

Earlier this year, I decided I needed to move on from the friendship that just wasn’t meant to be. I let go of June 18th, and I let go of the idea of ever finding her.

And then it happened. Less than a week later, I got a Facebook friend request from someone I didn’t know. I ignored it for a few days. Then the mystery person sent me a message that got stuck in my other folder which went unnoticed for a few days. Once I finally found the message, I still couldn’t figure out who this person was. They said they knew me from school. That we were friends. How on earth could I NOT remember this person?

Then a little light in my head came on, and I realized that not only had my bestie indeed gotten married, but she’d also shortened her first name.

I was so happy that I cried! Some people won’t understand the emotions behind that, but I’m very relationship-driven. I like to form solid friendships and hold onto them. We caught up as best we could, and we do some catching up on something new every week or so. It’s amazing to have this friend back!

That was a few months ago. And the thing I want to share with you for my Friday Favorites is a “birthday in a box.” This year was the first birthday I could celebrate again with my friend, and I wanted to make it special. A birthday in a box is something I do occasionally if someone lives out of town. They’re so easy to make, are completely customizable, and always make recipients smile!

Most boxes contain typical birthday items – everything one needs to celebrate their birthday without me, things I would give them or do for them if I were there. But because I hadn’t seen my friend in so many years and because we’d missed so many milestones, I also sent her cards for those big events that I missed in her life.

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Her birthday box included a tablecloth, plates, napkins, party hats and noise makers (for her, her husband, and her daughter), candles, and of course, cake! (Sometimes I send streamers, confetti, balloons. Sometimes the box is themed like a beach party or a farm party.) I also included a small gift for her and wrapped the entire box in festive paper before I mailed it out.

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I was very glad to hear that, once again, the birthday in a box took my friend by surprise and she loved it! It was a great way to celebrate her first birthday since our virtual reunion.

Whose birthday do you celebrate from afar?
Do you think they would like a birthday in a box?
What would you put in it? 

 

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!

Test Mail – facial masks

I’m testing a new piece of mail today. You’ve seen these displays at Walmart before, right?

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I love these samples. I love how they’re so inexpensive. They’re an easy way to show love to someone. AND… they’re thin enough, small enough and lightweight enough that they can go as a regular piece of mail.

I took one to the post office, and the mail clerk suggested I send them as non-machinable because of the liquid in them. It’s not enough liquid to warrant becoming a different class of mail, but she didn’t think it would be wise to send them through the postal machines.

So I have my non-machinable labels attached, and I’m using the $.70 stamps instead of the regular $.49 ones.

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I’ve never mailed them before, so these fun masks are part of a new thing I’m doing called Test Mail.

I’m sending them to four bloggers I’ve recently met who all who live in different areas of the country. When my new friends receive their test mail, they will snap a snazzy picture and tag me on Instagram.

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Want to see how they turn out? Follow me on Instagram!

As a thank you to these new friends for their help, I want to introduce you to them.

Rosemond Cates of Big Hair and Books
Emilie Lima Burke of Emilie Lima Burke
Marissa Giddens of My Old Heart
Ivlyn Valdes of Just Simply Me

Mail Tip: Non-machinable mail is anything that cannot or does not need to go through the postage meters. Anything rigid (mailing something non-bendable, like pictures) or non-rectangular (mailing one of those curvy-shaped facial masks) or not uniformly thick (mailing a pen inside an envelope) falls into this category. You can also mail other things non-machinable if you don’t want to take a chance at the machine ripping the mail piece open. You just need to label it properly and use the correct amount of postage. Anything non-machinable is an additional $.21/piece right now. Important: To ensure that your non-machinable mail gets properly routed and indeed does not face the machines, you should take your mail directly to a mail clerk at the post office counter. Don’t just put it in your mailbox for your mail carrier.

National Grape Popsicle Day

That’s right!

Wednesday, May 27th is National Grape Popsicle Day.

In preparation of this exciting food holiday, I’m sending out some of these awesome 3D postcards.

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They were super easy to make, and I’m sure the kids receiving them will love to get this piece of fun mail, especially since I’m letting them know about a fun food holiday, too.

If you’d like to make some, too, check out this tutorial by Sandra Denneler. (She comes up with the most creative mail pieces!) 

On a side note, if you’re wanting to celebrate, I recommend these grape popsicles. I’ve already bought our box for next week and have even eaten one without the kids around. (Shhh!) They have the best flavor and don’t melt too quickly like typical popsicles that are mostly water.

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Happy National Grape Popsicle Day, everyone!

 

 

Friday Favorites – address books

I am sure that, as a whole, address books are becoming a thing of the past. Contact records are now kept in people’s phones or email accounts or are simply not kept at all.

Sending a note to a friend? Just text and ask for their address.

Need to mail invitations for a party? Nah … just hand them out at the next get-together.

I keep an address book mainly because it is one consistent place for me to keep everyone’s contact information. That being said, I only keep addresses in it. Phone numbers go in my phone, and birthdays go on the calendar. Addresses go in the address book. 

I also keep the book because it feels nostalgic to me. There’s something fun about flipping open the book to the page with your [hopefully current] address on it. It makes me feel like an adult. It makes me feel a tiny bit like my grandmother who I can remember sitting at her dining room table writing letters.

So, a while back, I decided to get a new address book. I’d recklessly used ink in my old book. Little did I know that my friends and family would move so much and that I should be using pencil. After months of perusing and poring over different styles and designs, I finally settled on this amazing Norman Rockwell book. (The one on top of it is my old one.)

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It’s not femininely pretty, which is what I was originally wanting, but I love it! It’s spiral-bound, with a protected binding. It has plenty of space for adding information. And it has over forty full-color Rockwell images. Since I won’t be owning one of his $5k lithographs any time soon, this book is a great way for me to enjoy his works.

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Yes, I know there’a pen in the picture. Don’t use pen in your address book! The fifth time your best friend moves and you find yourself out of room in that alphabet letter, you’ll wish you’d used pencil all along.

I’m a little sad to get rid of my old book. I loved the 3D cover leaves. And the pocket inside the book was nice for holding address labels and stamps.

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In case you’re in the market, you can find the Norman Rockwell address book on Amazon here.

Below are some other designs worth considering. If these designs don’t suit you, the companies they represent have many more options.

Lang has this pink butterfly and other genuinely beautiful books on their site. This one is ring-bound and has the option of refill pages:

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Erin Condren has a truly unique address book, and I wish I would have found it sooner. All of their books are customizable and include a pocket, zippered pouch and labels:

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Franklin Planner, a division of Franklin Covey, not only has address pages for your regular planner, but they also have separate address books. This one – called the Little Book of Addresses – really is a little book. It measures a mere 5″ x 3.75″ for those who prefer something small:

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Barnes & Noble is carrying this Vera Bradley address book. It has the very iconic VB look and has a great magnetic closure:

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The Delicate Utility on etsy has this genuine leather address book for sale. If you’re into awesome leather journals, be sure to check out their entire collection of products. I guarantee you’ll find more than one that you’ll fall in love with:

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How to use glow stick tubes for mailing

Earlier this week, I ran a giveaway for Sharpie pens. (If you missed the post on the plethora of awesome Sharpie products, you can check it out here.)

The giveaway ended last night, and we have two winners.

Congratulations Abigail and Susan!

If they are reading the blog today, they’re going to see how their prizes are being mailed. But it’s a great tutorial, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to show you all how to make an easy, small mailing tube.

My kids adore glow sticks! And fortunately for me, they’re usually super cheap at Target. Fifteen for $1. Can’t beat that, especially when the tube gets re-purposed for fun mail.

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I recommend keeping the tube for the glow sticks until you’ve used them all. Once you’ve used them, just wrap the tube in wrapping paper. You can use any wrapping paper, but this is some of my favorite paper.

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It came from Ross and is unlike any other wrapping paper I’ve used. It’s practically un-tearable. It’s not like regular paper. It has similar qualities to a foil wrapping paper without being quite so fickle as foil. It’s almost plastic-like. Seriously, it’s awesome. Every time I use it I want to go back to Ross and hunt down some more.

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When you wrap the tube, be sure that you end with one straight line. You can use a small piece of tape to hold it in place, but you’ll also need to use packaging tape down the length of it to ensure it doesn’t come off during shipping.

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After adding contents to the tube,  you can seal the ends with more packaging tape if you’d like. The ends actually stay in pretty well, so I didn’t bother with more tape. Add your address labels and postage, and send your package on its way!

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Mail Tip: While I prefer to use fun stamps for fun mail, when I have a smaller package like this, I use a printout from the post office. They take up less space on these small packages and allow the paper to be seen.

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Fun with Sharpies – giveaway!

Do you know what you can do with a Sharpie? Check out my Sharpie art.

This is a box I’m mailing to a friend. All sides got Sharpied. I used a combination of fine point, ultra fine point, and dual tip Sharpies as well as Sharpie pens.

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And an envelope got it, too:

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Sharpie art is limitless with their huge variety of colors and mediums. Check out this post for more on Sharpies.

And check out this link to a Rafflecopter giveaway!!! I’m giving away an incredibly awesome Sharpie pen to TWO readers. It’s as easy as leaving a comment on any post on the blog.