Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ideas for College Student Care Packages

Photo credit
My oldest niece is starting her first year of college this fall (boy, does that make me feel old!), and she's going to be moving away from home - pretty far away - for the first time. Although I was only 100  miles from home when I attended college, I remember getting a care package a time or two after I moved.  It was the most amazing thing to see that little slip of paper indicating I had something that was too big to fit in my tiny dorm mailbox.  Opening it was like Christmas morning each and every time - even when the things included were not big and luxurious.  It was amazing to know that someone was thinking of me and helped bring a little bit of home to my dorm room in those first uncertain, exciting months away from home.

So I have vowed to myself that at least once a month, I will be sending our niece something just to lift her spirits and (hopefully) make her smile.

Of course you can always do a themed gift box that includes toiletries, first aid stuff, candy, foodstuff, holiday items, or any other "theme" you can think of.  But you can also just throw in a number of things that are in no way related one another, but you just wanted to send.

And being on this website, I cannot go without saying that some of these things you can get for cheap or free because of seasonal purchases, sales, and playing drugstore shopping games. =)  Go with what you can find.  But if you are looking for some ideas, these are perfect.

Any other good ideas to add to this list? I'll add them to the list! What did you receive at college that was a must have?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Store Brand vs Name Brand

Source: Paul Jerry
As I was walking out of the door for work this past Tuesday, I reached into the pantry and grabbed the breakfast of champions.  No...not that cereal.  Pop Tarts.  I opened them up and took a big bite of my frosted strawberry name brand breakfast treat and realized that I had been eating store brand toaster treats for long enough that I no longer have a taste for the name-brand product from Kellogg's.  I actually prefer the store brand. 

There are some products that I cannot differentiate between store brand and name brand.  I taste little difference in pasta, milk, breads, canned fruits or vegetables, ethnic food products, and the like. I could not tell you in a blind taste test whose soup, sour cream, or hot dog buns I was eating. No idea whose box that jello was in or what the package of those frozen veggies looked like. Salad dressings?  Except for ranch, I have no preferences.

There are other products that I can tell a difference, but don't mind the store brand. Typically fruit juices, sodas, bottled water, potato chips, sliced bread, frozen pizza, frozen french fries.

There are products that I actually prefer the store brand - Publix ice cream, Walmart sandwich cookies, store brand cereal bars, Publix brand yogurt, and others. 

But there are a few products that I cannot handle a store brand.  Peanut butter, saltine crackers, cheese,  ketchup (although strangely, mustard is all the same to me), ranch dressing, buttery crackers, and Oreos.

So that made me want to ask, what about you?  Are there some products that you MUST have your preferred name brand?  Are there others that you cannot tell a difference?  Are there some that you prefer the store brand?  Let us all know!  You might let us in on some delicious treats for less money!