Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Just pluggin' along

I know its been a week since I last posted, but I haven't had much to say. I went to my in-laws house over the weekend and while there my youngest boy came down with something. I'm not sure what, but it whatever bug he picked up involves a high fever and all that yucky stuff that comes with it. He has been achy and miserable since Saturday night, and not really showing signs of improving.

Anyway, with Valentine's Day coming up, consider doing your online shopping through Amazon, and even more specifically, through the link on this blog. For each purchase made through this site, Soleful Suitcases receives a very small commission, which can then be used to offset the cost of the baggage fees.
Amazon is running some great gift specials which you can find here:

Monday, January 14, 2013

The boys and I went to a local thrift store this morning on the hunt for Legos for the oldest, who is 4 1/2 and really getting into Legos. (I could make a whole post about Legos. They are so darn expensive, come with so many little parts, and like all parents, think they hurt like the dickens when stepped on. But he does love them, and they fuel his imagination so much. He thinks we should take Legos for all the children in Jamaica, but doesn't understand the cost involved.)

Anyway, we struck out on the Lego front, but did stop to look at their suitcase selection, which is normally pretty slim. Today was about the same, but they did have a short, deep, roller case that could possibly be good. It looked clean, in good shape, and like it could hold quite a bit. However, the store wanted $19.99 for it. While I understand that is an excellent price for a suitcase if you're going to use it more than once, I am not. So I left it there. The store is having a 50% off sale next Monday 1/21 for the holiday, so I'm hoping the case will still be there and I can score it for just $10. Cross your fingers for me.

Friday, January 11, 2013

How Many Shoes?

I put up a new poll over on our Facebook page asking the question - "How many pairs of athletic shoes will we get for our 2013 trip?" It is completely non-scientific and just for fun, but all the same, make a guess. Leave a comment and tell me how many pairs you'll be donating.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

School Supplies Shopping

Recently I made a trip to Costco for all that stuff that a family of 4 doesn't need. You know what I'm talking about, right? I mean, really, unless you are a restaurant, who needs a 100oz. bottle of ketchup? Anyway, while there I walked down the office supplies aisle, and found some great deals on school supplies. These are some of the deals I found.

646 sheets of construction paper in 12 different colors for $8.99 (less than 0.02 per sheet)
9 dozen Papermate ink pens in black or blue for $7.89  (0.07 per pen)
8 dozen Dixon pencils for $9.49 (0.10 per pencil)
24 Scotch gluesticks for $6.49 (0.27 per stick)

These are amazing prices, and would go a long way to improving a school. Next time you are at Costco and have an extra $10, consider picking up one of these items instead of that jumbo bag of cheese puffs.

If you don't have a Costco membership and still want to help out, considered ordering something online and having it shipped directly to Soleful Suitcases.
Our shipping address is
Melissa Hart
119 N. Parker St. PMB#143
Olathe, KS 66061

Amazon has several of the same items listed.
24 Scotch gluesticks
5 dozen BIC pens
8 dozen Dixon pencils
500 sheets of construction paper 

Thanks so much!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

1400 Blog Hits

Wow! What a great milestone for Soleful Suitcases! We passed the 1400 views mark this week. Which for those who don't quite understand what that means (dad), I'll fill you in. It means that over the course of the past 6 months or so since I started this blog, people have looked at this little site 1400 times. I don't know how many unique views I have since I haven't installed those kind of tools on this blog, but I'm just thrilled that people like you keep coming back. It says to me that you care about the cause and how to help. You care about the progress of it all, and want to see success.

I feel almost like The Little Blue Engine that could, and I keep on going. I really did start out saying, "I think I can, I think I can." After the trip after Thanksgiving, and the huge outpour of support, I am now saying, "I know I can, I know I can."

I just know this next trip, when ever it ends up happening, will be big. BIG.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Planning for the Next Trip

I know it seems like we just got back, and really, we did. We've been home for just over a month now. However, we're already thinking about going back, and the goodies we can take this time. Last time I had no idea what kind of support to expect, and I'd made a goal in my head to take 3 suitcases with 30 pairs of shoes and maybe a few boxes of crayons. For this next trip, I'm putting my goals out there for all to see and help meet.


6 suitcases full of goodies, including:
-75 pairs of athletic shoes
-150 pairs of new socks
-150 pounds of school supplies
-Working laptop
-Thumb drives for teachers to save work on
-Digital camera
-Baggage Fees paid for 100% with donations/fundraising roughly $330
(Baggage fees went up. The first 3 bags will now cost $35 each and any after that will be $75 each. Ouch!)
-6 suitcases

How You Can Help

Start saving your athletic shoes. If you want them out of your house now, I'm happy to take and store them.

Buy some socks.  You can grab a package off Amazon and have them shipped directly to me, or give them to me next time we see each other.

Keep your eyes open for sales on school supplies. I realize January is not the normal time to buy them, but random sales happen.

Donate a laptop or netbook you are no longer using. Please make sure it is in good working order and has your personal data removed. Having Windows on it would be a huge plus.

Donate your old thumb drives that you've wiped clean. While the drive might not hold enough for you, it'll hold plenty of basic documents for teachers. This makes having limited access to computers easier for them.

Donate your old digital camera. It would be great if you still had the power cords/adapters, a memory card, or any instruction manuals/software. You could also find an inexpensive one and give the gift of a new one.

Donate your old suitcase and buy yourself a nice, new fancy one. Or, give the gift of a suitcase.

Donate money. There are a couple ways to do this.
First you can donate through the link on the right side of this blog at the "Donate Button". This takes you to a site that will allow you to donate and send me the money via Paypal. I then will use that money for baggage fees, or to buy socks and school supplies.
The other way you can help is by shopping with Amazon via the link on the left. Amazon has reviewed this website and approved it to allow me to make a small commission from each sale that originates from here. You simply click the link, do your shopping, and check out like normal. There is no difference in price or service from Amazon. Soleful Suitcases will then get 4% from the total sale to help defer the baggage fees and other costs. You can also bookmark this link http://amzn.to/TLtQF8 and use it as your starting point for Amazon.

You can also help by spreading the word. Tell people about this blog and our facebook page. The more people that know about this, the more help will come. After our last trip, I've become a firm believer that people want to help you, they just don't know how to. If you give them the information and tools to help, they will. Good things can and do happen.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


On our last trip, we took 5 extra large suitcases to hold all our goodies, and left them there, as planned, so we wouldn't have to pay luggage fees on the way home. And now, we are in search of more suitcases for our next trip.

The idea case would still have wheels functioning and telescoping handles. The zipper needs to be able to close, but if it takes a little effort, or the pull tab on the zipper is missing, we can work with that. The bigger the better as we pack them tight, and they hold 50 pounds. The case doesn't have to have fancy garment accessories or inside straps, but we're not going to be picky. We'll take what we can get.  We also left a carry on size there as we were able to consolidate our going home luggage into a backpack.

So, if you're considering getting rid of that suitcase in your basement taking up space, please pass it along to us.

Or, if you have an old suitcase and you're considering an upgrade, you might want to check out the kind my mom bought me as an early Christmas present that we took. We got this in orange, and love it! The handle is great, there are 4 wheels for easy pulling or pushing, and it held up really well to the travel.