In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter and sharing of pleasures. ~ Gibran

Thursday, September 15, 2011

College Care Packages Arriving Today!

The Make and Take Gals got together for an “underground” make and take this past week; no fuss, no frills, and no lunch – just a casual, quick session to check a project off the list.  Our mission was college care boxes.   Several young adults in our lives had just headed off to college.  Knowing the first few weeks away from home can be rough, the timing was right to mail packages loaded with touches of home and lots of love.  We gathered our supplies, met at my house, and started packing.

Mary Jo was sending to a nephew.  Amongst the treats, she tucked in practical items like a muti use tool, toothbrushes, and playing cards.  Miniature candy bars served as the “filler”.

Poh sent to a friend’s daughter and wowed her with a donut cake – frosting and candles included for decorating upon arrival.  For girls, it’s all about the theme, and this one was for celebrating a September birthday.  The box was rounded out with college survival items:  bandaids and a stain removal pen.

Pam lovingly packed a care box for her daughter.  Stationery (for letters home), coloring supplies (for study breaks), pasta (for apartment living), and homemade fruit leather (for sensible snacking!) filled the box perfectly. 

The box I assembled for my nephew contained a Halloween wreath for his dorm door.  Made of tootsie pops for easy grabbing, this wreath doubles as a great ice-breaker for new friends stopping by.  Homemade granola bars, a CD of favorite songs, and microwave popcorn completed my box.

You know, whether it’s someone in college, in the military, or traveling abroad a care package is always well received.  Even for someone that just needs their day brightened, these care packages will be cherished long after the goodies are gone.  Some basic guidelines to follow:

·        Use the US Post Office flat rate boxes.  Regardless of weight, these boxes ship for a set rate. 
  • Call, email, or Facebook to alert the recipient a package is coming.
  • Include a lot of extra treats for a great icebreaker.  Food and friends go together.
  • For boys, it’s all about the food: granola bars, trail mix, jerky, baked goods.   
  • With girls, think themes like Fall, Thanksgiving, birthday, Valentine’s Day.  They love a few surprises like fingernail polish or magazines.   
  • Decorate the inside of the box with pictures or funny phrases.
  • Send a box in February when homesickness is high.  This month is cold, homework is endless, and there is no end in sight.  Make this a cheerful package with a gift card to get them out of their dorm (Starbucks or self-serve yogurt).
·        Be aware of vacation schedules to avoid the care package sitting in the mail room.  Know test dates for final exams – this is a great time to send a little support from home.

·        The main element should be what home means to the recipient.  You’ll know best what to include that will mean the most.

Almond Apricot Granola Bars Recipe

½ cup almond butter or other nut butter
½ cup honey
1 cup crispy brown rice cereal
1 cup granola
½ cup almonds, chopped
½ cup dried apricots, chopped*
¼ tsp salt

Put almond butter and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat for 2 – 3 minutes or until melted.  Whisk to combine.

Put the crispy cereal, granola, almonds, apricots and salt in a bowl.  Add the almond butter mixture; stir well to combine.

Grease a 7 or 8 inch square baking pan and line it with parchment or plastic wrap.  Spread the granola mixture evenly into the dish, pressing down gently.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate until set, about one hour.

*substitute other dried fruit if you would like.  Dried cranberries are very good!

Happy Packing!

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