Operation Christmas Child Update #3: Ready To Wrap and Some Helpful Links

With just a few more weeks until Collection Week, I was able to complete my goal of 10 Operation Christmas Child Boxes for this year!  Some of my favorite things that went into the boxes were flip flops, school supplies, jump ropes, puzzles, fat quarter bags and the soap pouches.  Each box was also packed with toothpaste, a toothbrush, hat, candy, socks, a stuffed animal (every child needs one!) and toys.

After reading a comment on a previous post about the need for boxes for 10-14 year old boys, I decided to pack the last 5 boxes for that group of children.  Next year I'm hoping to do more boxes for them.

Since I wanted to keep this project as organized as possible {since getting organized was one of my goals for this year!}, I decided to pack each shoebox and put a sticky note with the gender/age of the child that should receive the box.  I was pretty pleased with how organized it was until I realized that I still needed to wrap the boxes and everything would have to be taken out and repacked! 

Here are some very helpful links for those who are interested in Operation Christmas Child:

Printable Labels
Printable "About Me" Page
How To Pack A Shoebox
Find A Drop-Off Location
How To Wrap A Shoebox {with video}
101 Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Ideas

My OCC Pinterest Board has links to many homemade items that can be included in OCC boxes and Clip With Purpose is also a great place to find many inexpensive, creative ideas for OCC boxes.

Earn Christmas Money With Swagbucks!

It's not too late to earn a little extra money for Christmas this year with Swagbucks!  I love earning swagbucks and using them to purchase Amazon gift cards that I use to buy Christmas gifts.

So far this month, I've earned 389 swagbucks and I think I'm on track to earn (4) $5 Amazon gift cards before Christmas.  Here are some of my favorite ways to earn swagbucks:

1.  Search.  I use the Swagbucks search engine instead of Google to search topics on the internet.  I usually win 8 - 10 swagbucks by searching and try to win at least twice a day.

2.  Download the Swagbucks toolbar.  I earn 1 easy swagbuck every day by logging in on the toolbar.  Keeping the toolbar on my browser also makes it easy to search.

3.  Daily Poll.  Earn 1 swagbuck every day by answering the daily poll.

4.  NOSO {No Obligation Special Offers} Earn 2 swagbucks every day by viewing the NOSOs.  **There are many free special offers here that will also earn additional swagbucks when they are completed.  Be sure to read all the requirements and follow the directions in order to earn the swagbucks.

5.  Special Offers.  Click on the "more" tab and click on "free" to find the offers that only require a signup or download in order to win swagbucks.

6.  Birthday Bucks.  If you have a birthday coming up, be sure to enter the date in your profile and you will be sent 50 free swagbucks on your birthday!

These are my favorite ways to earn swagbucks, but there are many other ways to earn.  To start earning sign in to your account or sign up for a new account.  When you sign up for a new account your account will automatically be credited with 30 swagbucks to get you started!

Recipe: Healthy{er} Brownies

This is the ultimate hidden ingredient recipe.

And what could possibly be hidden in these soft, fudgy brownies?

Answer: black beans!

I have no idea who first came up with the concept of putting black beans in brownies, but they have become very popular over the last year.  I was less than enthusiastic to give them a try, but when Chocolate Covered Katie shared her recipe I had a change of heart.

Our boys love these brownies.  They didn't see me add the black beans, but they did see me add chocolate chips to the batter. :) 

Healthy{er} Brownies

Makes: 9 servings

1 {15 oz.} can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup quick oats
2 tbs. cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup honey
2 tbs. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla 
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2/3 cup chocolate chips

1.  Mix all ingredients in a food processor and blend until very smooth.

2.  Stir in the chocolate chips and pour into a greased 8x8 or 9x9 pan.  Bake for 15-18 minutes.  Let cool before cutting.

Note:  I have tried this recipe with vegetable oil and with the coconut oil and the coconut oil brownies had a much better taste.  We did not notice any coconut flavor by using the coconut oil.

Original recipe by Chocolate Covered Katie

You might also like to try:

Healthy{er} Chocolate Chip Cookies