Every month I sent 2 or 3 online letters to my kids, usually when I hear from them (I want to go ahead and respond to what they've written about.) If I have pictures to send, I'll also usually do that online. Sometimes if I have a very special picture, I'll order prints from Walgreen's and send them to my kids (for example, when my mom got a new puppy earlier this year, I took a very cute picture of her cuddling Loki, the pup. I had copies printed for all of my kids, because I wanted them to have a picture of my mama!)
Once a month, I do hand-written letters and send goodies to my kids. This month, all of the kids are getting letters written about three core ideas:
- In my opening paragraph asking how they're doing and providing family updates, I shared that my grandfather had to be taken to the hospital again this weekend. I told my kids that he has problems with his blood in the past, and now he may have a problem with his heart. I asked them to please pray for him.
- I shared that my country's independence day was last week. I told my kids that many businesses were closed so people could have time off work. I told them that many people celebrate the holiday by shooting off fireworks, which are pretty but very loud!
- Lastly, I shared my excitement about this weekend. My friend Paul is getting married on Sunday! I shared with my kids that Paul and I have known each other since we were 13 years old. We met at school. Paul is a very kind and very funny guy. Whenever I mention one of my friends to my kids, I always like to tell them a little bit about them (in this case, I told them that Paul knows how to play the drums and he tells funny jokes!) I asked most of my kids if they have ever been to a wedding before. I was able to personalize this section a bit, too. I asked Jayid if he has ever been to a wedding, and told him that I have seen pictures of Indian weddings and they are so beautiful. I have read about wedding traditions in some of my kids' countries when I did country profiles for my blog, so if that is the case with the kid I'm writing to, I'll tell him or her "I have read about weddings in your country. They sound so festive! Have you ever been to a wedding? What was your favorite part?" Tasya wrote me a whole page about Indonesian weddings once!
Finally, the best part about hand-writing letters is that I also get to send treats in the big envelope! I have lots of fun stuff to send this month.
- Each kid is getting an "animals of Pennsylvania" postcard, which I picked up on my trip last week. Cows are prominently featured, which I thought was pretty funny. But they also have black bears, deer, and birds and stuff. Postcards are fun!
- Victor and Mary are getting planners. I found TONS of fun stuff at Michael's today, a lot of which was on clearance. These planners have holes punched in them so they can fit in binders, if they have them. Mary is getting a planner with a kitten on it, and Victor's has a very manly-looking hot rod on it. They both speak English and are my two oldest sponsor kids, so I thought that the planners would be a fun gift for them. They also have spaces for notes, grammar tips and metric/English conversion charts in them. I hope they like them!
- Mishel, Tasya, and Brenda are getting princess sticker books. I love the Darice brand sticker and activity books that Michael's carries. They have tons of stickers in them (in the case of the princess books, 314!) and often include play scenes. They are also the perfect size for mailing, and are a great price- regularly $1, they are currently half off because they're technically summer merchandise!
- Carlos is getting a "stained glass" coloring book from Dover. Those little Dover books are the best! The stained glass coloring book is filled with dragon pictures printed on what looks like waxed paper. Once colored, they pick up sunlight like a little stained glass window! I don't know Carlos yet as I'm still waiting for his first letter, but I thought this was a pretty cool treat for an older boy.
- Joane and Said are also getting Darice sticker books from Michael's. Joane's is full of happy faces, rainbows, and positive messages. She's a little too old for the princess stuff and other supplies I have for the younger girls, so I'm going to have to keep an eye out for stuff for her over the next few months! Said's sticker book is "custom cars" themed, full of race car stickers that you can customize with other little stickers. It's pretty cool!
- Prayer and Jayid are getting the last two race car themed "paint with water" books they had at Michael's also on clearance, also regularly a dollar. They are just little coloring books with those patches of color that turn to "paint" when wet.
I hope all the kids like the goodies I'm sending- and I hope they all go through the mail OK! Sometimes I worry a bit about the extras I send, since I don't always hear from the kids about receiving them. But since they're all acceptable by Compassion's guidelines, I just pray that they get there OK!
What are you writing to your kids about? Have you found any super cool goodies to send through the mail recently?