What to include in a Care Package

Giving a friend a care package is nice to do no matter the occasion-a hard time, a new baby, a marriage, a promotion or simply just because. I have found myself doing this for a couple of my friends recently and it makes me feel so good that I can help them, lift their spirits or remind them how much they are loved. But I do understand that this is based on financial ability and doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive.

Mainly I use Amazon Prime to send packages to people because it’s easy to send and a one stop shop for anything you could need. It would also be super easy to go to your local dollar store or Target and do the same thing. First step is to think of things they like or may need- for a new baby, a swaddle- or for a new job, a coffee travel tumbler or for a just because maybe their favorite treat or new book to read. Next I will share how I compile and gather things people really love. Here’s some good ideas to put in your care package:

Snacks: candy, travel sized snacks, your favorite item for them to try, a drink or coffee of their choice

Good smelling things: bath and shower items, sprays, perfumes, essential oils or warmer wax

Self Care items: a body scrub, a skin or beauty item, nail polish, a face mask or hand and body lotion

Entertainment: Books, movies, magazines, a hobby item, a cd or list of favorite music to share, subscriptions they might like

Home Items: mugs, decor, candles, a picture frame, seasonal items

Office Supplies: pens, pencils, planners, notebooks, post it notes, a cell phone holder or charger (because we always lose them), cute stationary etc

Jewelry: rings, a necklace, bracelets, earrings, anklets or friendship sets

I think the most important thing is to think of the person and relevant items for the event you are sending a care package for. The person will appreciate and give many thanks for you even thinking of them and getting a nice surprise. I hope this is a useful idea and just know that it doesn’t have to be spendy or happen all the time but giving gifts are one of my favorite ways to show love to friends and family so I know they love it.

Let me know what you’d like to give or receive in a care package and who you’d send a surprise package to!

Childfree by Choice & FOMO

Growing up I always imagined having kids, a few of them perhaps three by 30 (that was my child mind’s plan). I played with Barbies and dolls constantly. It was my favorite thing to do by myself. And I had a lot of free time spent in my room. Our journey started off rough financially-it never seemed like the right time. We decided to throw caution to the wind for a month or two and just “try” unprotected….. but nothing happened. Then we just agreed we should wait until we were A) more ready and B) more stable and have a good foundation for life. 

Most of my friends growing up had children young and started families before the right time. It can be argued there is no right time which I understand but also I’m sure most people want to have a suitable place, have the means and resources and also be financially sound. I just never felt like I was responsible and ready for the weight of having a child of our own (even married and being supported). As I started seeing a majority of said friends struggle and be on assistance-the more I just knew I didn’t want to be in that situation, if I knew I could do better and give more. Then, we started seeing unruly kids and (actual) lazy parents who didn’t care and wouldn’t take responsibility for their kids out in public. It worried, scared me and pissed me off. Sean and I both started to think again about this whole “kids” thing- we felt pressured by family and guilty for not being more ready for it. On other occasions, kids I came in contact with were not disciplined, had too much freedom or were scared of their own shadow, talked back, screamed and had behavioral issues. Now I realize, with small children this may happen but it was another strike on my board for not wanting to participate in parenthood. Don’t get me wrong- I love kids but I don’t want them for myself. I’m good with being at an arm’s length and giving them back when it’s time. 

Years passed and we became a bit more stable, the cost of everything grew and I evaluated what we’d be spending on a baby. It was an ungodly amount of money for my region and I was very shocked and turned off by the thought. Okay, don’t get me wrong I wanted to be a mom, to do better than my own childhood (which wasn’t all terrible-but not all good either). I love the idea of being pregnant and growing a human inside my body- truly what a miracle; when so many women can’t. To feel the baby kick and move and watch your belly grow and change are all things I want to experience. I would love to see what it’s like to be a parent, to know a small human being relies on you and loves you no matter what, and to watch Sean be a father too. But I just don’t think going into parenthood with 50% excitement is enough.

However here’s where it gets tricky- this new feeling started happening after all these baby announcements of my friends. I got really sad and a little bit jealous. Ooh, it was an icky feeling. I WAS SOBBING IN MY BATHROOM-for no reason, or so I thought. Now of course, I’m over the moon for my friends, few who have been trying and waiting and praying for a baby. But nevertheless, inside, my motherly instincts wished it was me announcing to them. Congratulations were always in order and my excitement is true-I wanted to be fully present but; these feelings ate me up inside. However my decision did not change. I’m writing this to be honest, not for sympathy but maybe to ask anyone if they’ve felt this way. After speaking to my husband and a few friends (in all different stages of life, with and without kids) I’ve realized I’m not alone so I shouldn’t be ashamed or feel guilty for these emotions. It just is what I’m experiencing. I know it’s okay to feel this way and that it is alright IF I change my mind.

I’m thankful that I have freedom to choose and I can be an “auntie” to many kids I know in my life. I am also an auntie in real life to many nieces and nephews, one of which being my brother in laws kiddo-who is a gem, an adorable, smart little boy who we miss very much (lives in AK). My in-laws and family now understand better after years of explaining and insisting, we aren’t the people for kids, that now they just welcome their fur-grandkids. Which I think is almost just as good. I’m lucky I’m blessed with so many people who love and support us no matter what. I’m validated in my feelings with my friends which feels good and honorable. 

Despite our solid decision, I wouldn’t say I am not upset about not being a part of motherhood. (And I know I could change my mind if we wanted; but we don’t).There are so many parts that I would love to participate in and few pieces of parenthood I would severely dread. I am hopeful that I can be involved in other kids’ lives, spoil them and make other plans in our familys’ future. We would love to travel post COVID and do more home projects including our turf going in this month. I am glad that I have the option to decide what we want for our family and I know our future is bright! 

I want to thank you for allowing me to be vulnerable and open on this touchy topic. Leave any comments below! Talk soon.

Friday Favorites #10

Wow how did this week just fly by?! I can’t believe I’ve done ten of these already- are you enjoying them? I hope you had a productive and happy week and that you maybe have some plans this weekend. We are planning on going to see my in laws new place and mostly just relax. Share what your weekend looks like down in the comments!

Favorite Videos

5 minute home organization for under 5$

Moving into Disneys’ Golden Oak HOUSE TOUR (new channel to me, subscribe!)

YouTuber to S*x Worker ft. Mia Sayoko | Wild ‘Til 9 Episode 48

Favorite Posts

6 steps to set boundaries between work and personal life

Chicken Alfredo Bake 

5 things I need to heal from trauma and anxiety

Favorite Pictures

Forgiveness doesn’t mean you’ll forget

I see you baby (sickickmusic) 

When mommy needs a break…

Favorite Products

Adjustable tablet and cell phone stand (handsfree)

Hydro-Boost Gel Cream Moisturizer

Furminator deshedding tool

What was your favorite thing I shared this week?

Pet Story of the Week: Sandy, Kandy, Ella and Mr. Gibbs

When Nora invited me to write a story about my dogs, I had a hard time picking just one story. Dogs have always been a big part of my life and a part of my family. I told her I could write about my first dog that we adopted when I was only a year old. I could write about the dog that came after her and stole my mother’s heart. I could write about Ella, my first dog that I picked out on my own. Or I could write about Mr. Gibbs, the dog that touched my life in more ways than I could have ever  imagined. In the end, I decided to write about them all.

Can you pick a dog by its bow?

When I was a year old, my parents took me to the local animal shelter around Christmas to pick out a dog. The shelter was feeling a little festive and a little golden puppy with a big red bow caught my attention. I picked her out and she became a part of our family until the summer after my junior year. She was one of the sweetest, well-behaved dogs ever. She loved pets, being with her family, and hanging out in the sprinkle on a hot day. 

My favorite memory of Sandy is the time we locked her out of her own yard. We’re not even sure how it happened. We came home from going somewhere and found Sandy laying on the front porch waiting for us. When my dad went to check the gate, it was somehow locked with her outside of it. Instead of running away, she simply waited on the front porch for us to return. Like I said, she was one of the best behaved dogs ever.

We’re not getting another dog.

After Sandy passed away, my mom was firm in her decision that we weren’t getting another dog. My sister and I were both in high school and she knew we’d be leaving the nest before long. We wanted another dog but respected our mom’s decision as well. Since we couldn’t have a dog of our own, we started volunteering at the local animal shelter. The shelter required an adult to volunteer with us so my dad joined us every week.

One week, there was this cute male puppy that we all fell in love with. He was a few months old and able to go home that day. My dad called my mom and told her all about this puppy. He joked that we were bringing him home with us but she believed him and was surprised when we didn’t come home with a puppy. This opened the door to the conversation of getting another dog. My mom said we could adopt another puppy but we needed to take time picking one out. A few days later, my mom and dad had picked out a sweet little girl that we named Kandy. (Read more about Kandy in my goodbye letter.)

You never know – you could find a dog or meet a guy.

Kandy was a big part of my life. She was such a big part of my life that when I started thinking about moving out, I realized how much I would miss her. She was the family dog though and couldn’t go with me. So, I asked my parents if I could adopt a dog of my own. They agreed because it was nearing summer and as a teacher, that meant I’d have a lot of time to train another dog. There was an adoption event at a local Petsmart. I made plans to go after work and almost backed out after a tough day in the classroom. My sister was the one that told me to go. “You never know – you could find a dog or meet a guy.” I was single at the time so either option seemed like a good day.

I circled the event looking for puppies and realized they didn’t have many. During my circle, a one year old dog with a green polka dot ribbon caught my eye. She was quiet and a bit shy but there was something about her that spoke to me. A volunteer saw me lingering and asked if I wanted to take her for a walk. A few minutes into the walk, I called my mom and told her I’d found a dog. I’m still not sure what it was but there was an unspoken connection. She found me when I really needed it. And she continues to hang by my side today even after many ups and downs in life. She’s my perfect match in so many ways.

Four Years and a Mountain of Stories

Around five years ago, my husband and I decided that we were ready to get a dog together. We were finally in a location where we could get a house, which meant a yard for a furry friend to run around in. We both had dogs growing up and our love for them ran deep. When we first started talking about dogs, I told him that I had one thing that was important – that we adopt from a shelter or rescue. He agreed and we started checking the local shelters.

It took us several locations and a few disappointments before we found Mr. Gibbs at the animal control shelter. He was a hound mix estimated to be around 4 years old that acted like an oversized puppy. I was pregnant with our first son and his size intimidated me some but my husband felt a connection. In the end, a strong bond formed between Mr. Gibbs and myself. He was my silly boy that always kept us on our toes. He was only in our lives for four and a half years before his time was cut short by a battle with cancer. He filled my memories with so many stories and laughs though. I plan to share some of those stories in future posts when my head and heart are ready.

Every dog we’ve had has left pawprints on my heart. Ella continues to be a constant companion that gets snuggles from the boys, goes on adventures with us, and greets us every day. I’d like to think that Sandy, Kandy, and Mr. Gibbs are at Rainbow Bridge swapping stories and entertaining one another. Someday I’ll hug them each again and remind them of the love I have for them. Until then, I’ll snuggle the pups in my life and continue to give new dogs a fur-ever home as we have the space and time. After all, there’s so much we can learn from dogs.

This story of the week was written by Pam Hodges at Hodge Podge Moments and she is a writer and publisher at Little Learning Moments and helps with projects and virtual assisting work. She lives in Charleston, SC and is a loving wife and mother to two adorable boys!

Hi! I'm Nora

I’m a stay-at-home wife & dog-mom. I began this blog ten years ago,  I couldn’t ignore that I felt a calling to help people find comfort, a sense of belonging or a place of community whenever they really needed it. » Read more about me here on my About page!

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