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Create the Perfect Valentine’s Care Package

Thinking of a sweet box for your military sweetheart this February? We’ve got all the best ideas for putting some heart into your Valentine’s Day military care packages.

You see, I’m a hopeless romantic. And I really love holidays. And as an incredibly sappy, sentimental, heart-on-my-sleeve fool for love, I love Valentine’s Day especially. When my hubby is in the States, I go all out. One year, I plastered our whole apartment with post-it-notes with little love notes penned all over them. Last year, I spend three days copying the Valentine’s Day prix fix menu from our favorite restaurant in New York and trying to turn our North Carolina home into its Southern equivalent. (With noted gratitude to the very helpful helpers at the commissary, without whom I would have crumbled and failed in my mission as I tried to find ingredients I couldn’t have identified without the assistance of a Cordon Bleu chef or very well-educated produce stockist. Thank you, commissary people. Without you, we would have been eating take-out Chinese food from the restaurant that makes Panda Express look gourmet and authentic.)

But this year poses a special challenge: The hub is deployed, and now I’ll have to build a box of Valentine’s surprises that’s actually up-to-snuff.

So it’s no surprise that while civilians were still trimming their tree, I was pinning like crazy and cultivating enough Valentine’s ideas to put American Greetings to shame. Hey — we all have to have some goals in life. I knew I wanted his box to be original. I didn’t want to just fill it with the same smattering of candy every other box would be filled with. And I wanted it to light up his day when he opened it – just like when I wake him up with raspberry-filled chocolate pancakes with hard syrup on Valentine’s Day at home.

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To start, I picked up a cutie-patootie (and cheapo) pink and red Valentine’s frame from Target. I can’t find the same one online, but this is a cute alternative. I filled it with a few pictures — some of our wedding favorites, others from the beach this summer. I even stuck in one of the dogs, because I’m still confident our boxer, Johnny Cash, has his heart -all wrapped up.

I wanted to provide some Valentine pizzazz for his rack (after all, what role does a wife have if not to send care packages full of things that wind up with a certain Marine being mocked by his friends?), so I got this fabulous heart garland from Paper-Source and a vintage postcard from Rifle Paper Co.

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Knowing he needed a full-size mug, I scooped this one up at the Target 70% of sale on New Year’s Day. I spent less than two dollars on it, which means he can have a good mug for his coffee while deployed and also leave it there. To festive-it-up, I added a single-serving package of Land O’Lakes dark cocoa and a heart-shaped peep to play marshmallow-on-top.

And to attempt something close to a holiday meal, I figured I’d send something special. In this case, the jarred-food winner was the Annie’s Homegrown Organic All-Stars, chosen specifically for its pink wrapper and ease for creating a relevant sweet note! That, and they’re actually not bad.  Not as delicious as the sandwich I’m currently eating, but beggars and those living off MRE’s can’t be choosers.

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But no Valentine’s box would be complete without SOME heart-shaped candy, so I tried to get small sizes of things he might actually enjoy and wouldn’t just rot for months under layers of Afghan dust and sand until they might be discovered this summer at some inopportune time melted into sticky, red oblivion.

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I put little notes on all of them (my favorite being the note about turning into an old cat lady without him — who decided to put a cat on this box of chocolates! Internet memes have taken over the candy aisle! Soon we’ll be buying candy hearts that read “all the loves are belonging to me.”) and in the process, I only ate one box of the candy actually intended for him. But it’s okay, because it was the box of Valentine’s Dots. And I’ll tell myself those probably don’t ship well.

For laughs, I also added a joke-gift into the box. A few years ago, the hubby was in a unit that spent its downtime in training at 29 Palms reading really horrible, awful, hysterically bad steamy romance books out loud to each other. Don’t even ask me how it started. I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know. But do I remember this ridiculousness when I’m standing in the check-out aisle next to the steamy-dreamy paperbacks while waiting for the people in front of me to hurry up? Why yes, yes, I do.

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Do I ever want to read this? No.

Do I want my husband to laugh when he opens his box? Absolutely.

If you’re looking for other ideas to include in your Valentine’s care package, check out our Pinterest board and let us know what you’re doing! Our best ideas always come from our readers, so let us know how you plan to make your honey’s heart skip a beat this February.

 

About Raleigh Duttweiler

Raleigh Duttweiler is a writer, amateur cook, and Marine Corps wife living at Camp Lejeune, NC. She insists on pronouncing Lejeune "luh-jhoon," and defends this mispronunciation by citing the pronunciation of Houston, Texas and Houston Street in New York City, her home for the last decade. When she's not on SpouseBUZZ or Spouse Channel, she can be found at the helm of her tutoring company, Tactical Advantage, which serves military children and their families as they bridge the gap between schools and navigate the college application process, finishing her Ph.D., and writing about food at DesignMom.com. She blogs at www.bunnyvictorious.com.

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