Monday, November 24, 2014


Phew!  Collection week is over.  (Although you can still drop off boxes at Greyhound Depots this week).  It's so exciting to see those boxes being sent on their way.  This year our church packed 257 boxes, which is almost double what we did last year.  Click here to see a video of our packing party.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Drawstring Pencil Cases

I bought a really cute sheet set for my son's bed, but had no use for the flat sheet that came with it. My Grandma gave her time to sew these cute and easy drawstring pencil bags.  A simple shoe lace or cord makes a nice drawstring.  I thought they looked so cute!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Few Weeks to Go!!

It's almost that time of year!  Time to pull together all our projects and finds over the year and put them into boxes.  The collection date this year is November 17th - 23rd.  If you're wondering where to drop off your boxes, click here to find a collection centre near you.
Last weekend I hit a local thrift store and managed to snag 26 new skipping ropes during their buy one, get one free toy event.  Yahoo!  There's still time to snag a few deals before the collection date, so keep shopping!!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Shoe Box Costumes

Last year at our local shoe box collection centre, were shoe box costumes that people could try on. My boys had a lot of fun with this!  This would also be an easy Halloween costume to make (and you could fit a snow suit under there!) or a costume for a parade.  A great way to catch attention and you could hand out brochures along the way!
You can find directions to make your own shoe box costume, by clicking here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Volunteer Opportunity - Processing Centres

I've had the opportunity to volunteer at the Calgary Processing Center a couple times.  It is SO much fun.  I am from Manitoba, so Calgary isn't exactly "close by", but I've managed to work some volunteer slots into a couple family of trips we've taken over the years.  It's overwhelming when you see the amount of volunteers and boxes!  A great fun and friendly atmosphere and a way to get some new ideas for your own boxes.  :)

This is an old blog post (2007!) but you can read about it if you click here.

If you want to check into volunteering yourself, click this link for more details.

Saturday, September 20, 2014


Today I was blessed with a box of crocheted facecloths for shoe boxes!  Mrs. E Wiebe, from our congregation, saw a blog post I had made about learning to crochet so I could make some facecloths for shoeboxes.  She has been faithfully sitting by her husband's side as he has been in palliative care at the hospital for the past few months and to fill her days, she's been crocheting.  Today she dropped off 90 facecloths! She plans to carry on, making more as she spends more days in the hospital. The square ones have a bar of soap inside (wrapped in a bag).  These will be used to fill boxes at our church-wide packing party this fall.
Always amazed by the generosity of some people.  Instead of focusing only on the negative, she chooses to use her time to bless others.  And in turn these facecloths will be a part of a shoe box that will travel across the world, to share about God's love with a child.  Amazing!

Thursday, September 18, 2014


This week I found some chalk on clearance at Superstore.  Regular $2/pail these are on clearance for just .50 cents each.  These would be great for either gender and all ages.
I think most kids would have a place to use these...a street or cement wall, but I think of those kids living in areas that are more lush and green.  Cement may not be something that's plentiful, so I think a small chalk board would be a great addition to these.
They come in a small pail with a lid and handle, so I think it could be repurposed once the chalk has been used.
If you do go on the hunt for these, check the clearance bins when you first walk in, as well as the toy section.  Lots of summer clearance...

Monday, September 8, 2014

More Garage Sale Success!

This weekend I hit up some more garage sales.  I find it's best to know when a town or area of the city is having multiple sales as it increases your chance of success.  This past Saturday was the garage sale day for Island Lakes in Winnipeg  (Whyteridge area is also a good one, always the Saturday before Mother's Day).  It means getting up a 6am as I have a 1.5 hour drive into the city.  But I also scored some deals for myself and was able to visit a friend in the hospital, so definitely worth the trip!
It may be hard to see what's all in the picture, but I found:

- New set of hair barrets and headbands for 50 cents
- Beanie Babies in packaging for 50 cents each
- New cars pencils for 25 cents
- Skipping ropes, marbles, tiara, large bouncy balls for 25 cents
- Thomas train and monster truck for $1 each
- Wooden X's and O's game for $1
- Fuzzy socks were free...brand new found in a bag of hand me down clothing my friend passed along to me from a co-worker.

To find these things, I often looked in a bin marked 25 cents.  Yes there is a lot of stuff I didn't want. Pieces of stuff, obviously used things and just general junk.  It takes time, but there is usually a few treasures that work well for shoe boxes.  Either new in packaging or things that look new.  The thrill of the chase...always so fun.  ;)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Hutterite Garage Sales

Hello!  Usually at this time of year, garage sales have kind of wound down.  And for the most part they have. With the exception of the Hutterite garage sales, at least in our area.  Today I attended garage sales at 2 different colonies (Fairholme and Good Hope, both South West of Portage la Prairie).  And I managed to snag quite a few deals.
My favorite find of the day was the mens hats.  There was a huge box of them, brand new with tags.  They were asking 3/$1, but throughout my years of garage saleing, I've gotten the nerve to barter now and again. I asked the lady if she would give me a better price if I took 50 hats and she sold them to me for $12.  So that's .24 cents a hat.
There was also lots of bars of soap around, so I bartered at both colonies and got almost 30 bars of soap for about .25 cents a piece.
Socks and toques were a quarter a piece and I found a few miscellaneous things as well: a beanie baby (.25), a collapsible cup (.10), a bag of wooden beads (.25), a small toy drum (.25), and some wash cloths that worked about to .30 a piece.
I also always checked the free boxes and got free felt (see top left hand corner), that I can use for a craft I have in mind for shoe boxes and a new mens hat.
I have never really shopped garage sales with shoe boxes in mind, until this spring.  I have found the odd thing here and there, but overall, not that much.  You want something that's a great price, but also something that is or looks brand new.  You also want quality items, not just trinkets from a dollar store.
So if you have a chance to hit up a hutterite garage sale, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the things you can find.
Do any other areas have sales such as these?  Just curious!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Canadian Flag Lapel Pins

I always like to include something with the Canadian flag on it, in each shoe box I pack.  An easy way to let the recipient know which country the box came from.  The souvenir section of any store often has little items that can be bought, such as tags, stuffed animals, key chains, etc. 
I got these Canadian flag lapel pins in the mail today.  A great addition for a shoe box.  And best part is - they're free!  Just contact a member of parliament and they will send them out to you.
I think these would get lost easily in a shoe box, so I'm thinking it would be wise to maybe print out some card stock with a little message or Scripture on it and pin one of these on.
What other items have you come across with the Canadian Flag on it?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Trade Show Freebies

My husband attends various trade shows across Canada, as an exhibitor for our family business and I often tag along. Many exhibitors give away freebies, as promotional items.  With Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes in mind, I snag as many items as I can, that are suitable for packing in shoe boxes.
This last week, we attended the Regina Farm Progress Show.  While the show is three days long, I attended for a couple of hours and was able to snag these goodies:
Some items may be hard to see.  There's a hat, beach ball, regular and mini sized footballs, coloring books, stickers/tattoos, pens, pencils, a flat water bottle, notepads, microfiber clothes, reusable shopping bag and of course, I snagged the soap and personal hygiene items from the hotel room.
I plan to deflate the beachball, to pack as efficiently as possible.  I would also deflate the football and include a pump (which I would have to purchase).  The great thing about including`a larger sized ball (soccer balls are great too) is that a whole group of kids can play with it.  I think most, if not all, of these items would lend themselves well to a shoe box for an older boy.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

OCC Fundraiser Lunch

Back in March, I organized a soup and dessert lunch fundraiser at our church, following the Sunday morning service.  We were able to raise over $800 for shoe boxes!  I hope to purchase items throughout the year, as I come across them at discounted prices.
Our church has a small congregation of about 150.  I put up a sign up sheet for most of the food donations and had no problem getting everything brought.  We had a very simple menu: chicken noodle soup and hamburger soup with buns.  Dessert was chocolate cake with whipped topping or white cake with raspberry topping.  Everything was delicious!  I had lots of offers of help from dishing out soup, to washing dishes and setting up tables.  It really was a team effort.  My hope is to plan a church wide packing party when the collection date draws nearer.
I would encourage you to raise funds for your own shoe boxes!  People are often more than generous when they know you're raising funds for a good cause.  Step out in faith.  :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Winter Clearance

This is the time of year that stores clear out their winter merchandise.  Today at Wal-mart (Portage la Prairie, Mb) there was long sleeved shirts as well as toques (I realize this is a Canadian term!  What do American's call toques? Beanies?) for $1 each.  I especially loved the toque with a pom pom on it that says Canada.  Always neat to include an item or two that bear the name of the country the shoe box came from.  The sizes for all items tended to be more on the small size, with the occasional large size.
Some people question whether warmer clothing items like this, are appropriate for the countries they are being sent to.  I would answer yes!  Not all countries have warm climates...think of Russia for example.  Definitely some nice items to keep a child warm.
Happy shopping!

Friday, March 21, 2014


This last week I received a generous donation from a lady in our church.  She and her husband were moving to a smaller house.  She has various collection and one of the items she has collected over the years is beanie babies.  Not having as much room in their new house, she parted with some of her collection (23!) and donated them to be used in Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes. 
She has had a heart for shoe boxes for years and has encouraged me numerous times to keep up with promoting shoe boxes in our church.  Knowing that 23 children will have something soft to love on, is so awesome!  What a blessing!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Bouncy Balls

The party supply aisle is always a good place to find packages of multiples which work nicely in shoe boxes.  Last week I was able to find these bouncy balls on clearance at Wal-mart.  Regularly $2 for 6 balls, they were clearing these out for $1.  Which makes these .17 cents a piece.  Perfect to split between a few boxes.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Sobey's Gift Card

Starting today (February 28th) until March 2nd, if you spent $100 at Sobey's, you get a free $10 Sobey's Gift Card.  While Sobey's mostly carries groceries, they also carry some items that could go in a shoe box: bar soap, toothbrushes, hard candy...  So if you're in the habit of shopping there anyway, why not make a point of stopping in this weekend, stocking your pantry and picking up a free gift card that you can use towards shoe boxes?!

More Dolls

Tracey from my Shoebox Committee at church found these dolls at Dollar Tree.  I like them because their outfits are modest.  I have seen other cute dolls similar size but their outfits were fairly skimpy.  These dolls are great because you can comb and do their hair.  That was always my favorite part of playing dolls;)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Prison Shoebox Distributions

Saturday, January 11th we were able to go into the Mazatlan prison and do 2 Shoebox distributions. One was for the guards children, and the other one was for the prisoners children. We had very specific rules.  Which included no cameras or cell phones.  That day of we found out that we would be allowed one camera inside the prison.  We were so excited to be able to capture this time and to be able to share our experience with others.
 It is a mens only jail.  The couple from our church work closely with the prison and go in weekly.

Here we are getting instructions and also hearing amazing stories of how God is working in the prison. 

The first distribution we did was for the prison guards children.  It was so important for them to be there to hear truth!  We were told that the guards worship death and make packs with the grimm reaper.  Just thinking about it makes me shiver.

Isaiah 55:11 So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

We pray that the seeds that were planted will continue to grow! And relationships with our Creator will be built.

The awesome youth team doing their drama.
Explaining that the greatest gift is not clothes or a trip but Jesus Christ!

 Our Canadian group plus the youth group from Mazatlan doing a skit together.  Even though there was a language barrier, friendships were made.
Time for the boxes!  

These boys could hardly wait to open their boxes.
Group photo time!
Helping open the boxes.  That tape is really strong!
It was neat to see the mom's getting excited about what was in the box.

After this we moved into the heart of the prison for our second distribution- this one was for the prisoners families.  Saturday is visiting day.  And children are allowed into the prison.  Which opened the door for us to do the distribution and allowed us to bring our children along as well.  What an amazing opportunity for everyone!    
My husband had planned on going into the prison during the week, and I had planned to stay back with our boys as no children were allowed.  And then the possibility of a distribution was mentioned earlier in the week. And I am so thankful that God opened this door.  All the distributions were special.  But the one in the prison was where we felt the presence of the Lord the most.    
We walked through a long path with chain link fence on both sides of us and barbed wire on top. There were prisoners on the other side of the fence.  Most were all friendly. A lot of them looked hopeless.  And then we came to a large open area which had a soccer field and a large open aired  gazebo type building. This is where we would be doing the distribution.

 Here we had a time of worship, for the prisoners and their families.
This lady looked so incredibly sad. Here we had the opportunity to bring hope not just to the children, but to the parents as well. 
 To see the prisoners lift their hands, sing and worship God was amazing!  God is doing a mighty work in the church that is in the prison!
The youth preforming their skit. 

The skit had some funny parts and it was fun to see everyone having a good time.  Laughter is a beautiful sound.


Isn't she cute!

Group photo time!
To see joy in the children's eyes as well as the parents, was beautiful. 

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14
So thankful for this amazing opportunity.  I have had people ask if we felt safe.  We felt complete peace taking our children into the prison and while we were in there we felt very safe.  We felt God near to us. Especially in the heart of the prison.  And we pray that others were touched by the hand of God as well.  We pray the truth told in message, song and skits were seeds that will grow into a beautiful relationship with the one true God! And that the hopelessness will be replaced with the Hope of our Lord Jesus Christ!