Month: April 2020

Fun Ideas For When Your Soldier Comes Home

Or Send a Gift for Military Personnel When You Can’t Visit in Person


It’s the phone call or letter every military family member waits to receive: your soldier is coming home! Whether it’s for a short visit or to return home from a lengthy deployment, a soldier returning to their family is worthy of celebration! (And at My Hero Crate, we think our military are heroes and deserve celebration all the time.)

Need to get to planning for your soldier’s return? Choose fun or meaningful activities you can do together as a family to build bonds and celebrate their homecoming. We’ve assembled a list of ideas, but you can also ask your soldier what they want to do on their time off.


Activities at Home

  • Family Barbecue: Fire up the grill, make mom’s famous potato salad, and enjoy an all-American meal in the backyard. If you don’t have a grill (or even a backyard), turn your meal into a picnic in the park instead.
  • Reminisce: Dig out all the old family albums and ponder good memories of loved ones as you look at photos from years past. Ask your soldier if they’d like copies of any of the photos to take with them back to base or on their next deployment.
  • Family Reunion: Plan a small family reunion with all the cousins, aunts, and uncles in the area. Make it a potluck to minimize your workload and costs. The whole family will love seeing your soldier back home.
  • Home Project: If your soldier will be home for a while, bond over completing a home improvement project together. It can be something as simple as painting a room, or as complex as a full-scale remodel with wall demolition. 


Activities Outside the Home

  • Short Family Vacation: Test your travel agent’s chops with a short, but action-packed family trip, or channel your inner organizer and assemble a vacation yourself. Choose a location that’s meaningful to the family, or a place you’ve never been before! For ultimate cost-savings, select a location nearby, perhaps a fun place in your state, so you can drive to get there instead of flying.
  • Take in a museum: Enjoy the serene atmosphere of an art museum together. The peace and quiet while surrounded by beautiful and interesting objects can be so relaxing. Take the time to interpret unusual art pieces together.
  • Shop for civilian clothes and goods: On base, and especially in combat training, your soldier hasn’t been able to enjoy the simple pleasures of civilian life, like clothes and other items that aren’t military-issue! Pay a visit to your soldier’s favorite store, or show them around a new one in your area, and shop ‘til you drop.
  • Take a day trip: You’d be hard-pressed to find an area of the country where you couldn’t drive a reasonable distance to find a fun activity to spend the day doing. Whether you’re mining for diamonds at a state park in Arkansas, kayaking in the Long Island Sound, visiting national monuments in the Dakotas, or hiking through the redwoods in California, you’ll find a family-friendly activity everyone can enjoy before returning home the very same day.



Send Them Off with a Care Package for the Troops!

The bittersweet part of your soldier coming home is that they also have to go back to base or wherever they’re stationed eventually. That’s why it’s important to make the most of your time together when you can, and express your love in other ways when you can’t be physically near.

A great way to achieve this is by sending a military care package from My Hero Crate! No matter what military branch your hero is enlisted in — Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, or Coast Guard — we’ll send a care package direct to them, anywhere in the world.

Choose from our monthly subscription option, or send a one-time military gift box chock full of tasty sweet, salty, and savory treats. Best of all, My Hero Crate is an American company with American suppliers working tirelessly to support the troops. Order today, and you’ll receive free shipping with your purchase!

Strengthening Your Long-Distance Relationship with Your Soldier

Share How Much You Care with Snack Boxes for Deployed Troops


Distance makes the heart grow fonder, as the old saying goes. This is especially true when your soldier is deployed overseas or stationed on a far-away military base, and you miss out on the daily interactions you normally get to enjoy when they’re safe at home.

Maintaining a long-distance relationship of any kind — romantic, familial, or friendship — can be tough. That’s because when you’re far apart, it takes more effort to stay connected emotionally. No matter how many letters you send or phone calls you make, the distance never shortens.

However, you can make your long-distance relationship a little easier with these tips.


Find a Way to Communicate that Works For Both of You

Maybe you feel like you need daily phone calls to keep in touch, or you wish your soldier mailed you more heartfelt letters instead of the short notes you’ve been receiving. Perhaps your soldier’s schedule is busy and exhausting, so they are unable to fulfill those wishes. It could also be the other way around, too!

Before accusing your partner, family member, or friend of forcing you to do all the work in the communication department, discuss both of your expectations for communicating: type of communication, frequency of communication, and duration of communication.

Types of communication are things like phone calls, letters, emails, video calling, and social media chats. Frequency means how often you communicate. Duration means how long you set aside to communicate for each time you talk. Deciding on each of these three communication categories helps you set expectations so no one feels disappointed.


Prioritize The Relationship

When you make your relationship a priority, the relationship remains strong. The moment one person begins to prioritize other duties or leisure activities over the relationship, it will be difficult to fully recover from. For example, if you call your son or daughter where they’re living on base, and they never want to talk to you, you might subconsciously call less frequently. If your soldier writes you letters every week, but they never receive one in return, their letters might subside over time. Instead, when you prioritize the relationship, including communication, you show that you care for the other person. 


Continually Show You Care

Actions speak louder than words — another old saying that we think is true! You can tell someone verbally how much you care about them every minute of the day, but if you don’t act like you care, then your message doesn’t seem genuine.

One way to show your soldier you care is by sending military care packages or subscription snack boxes to them wherever they are stationed, even if they are overseas. It’s even more meaningful if that care package was created and shipped by an all-American company, with all-American suppliers. At My Hero Crate, that’s exactly what we do! You can choose a monthly subscription or a one-time shipment of one of our care packages for soldiers to make your loved one smile and think fondly of you, no matter how many miles separate you. And yes, we deliver these military-member gifts anywhere in the world, included in the price of the care package.

Other ways to show you care are:

  • Planning surprises or special outings when they visit home
  • Upholding your end of the bargain, by always responding to communications and keeping your promises
  • Supporting military members in any capacity you can, such as through donation drives, or simply in your daily speech and actions

No matter what method you choose to express how much you love your soldier, they’re sure to feel the energy that exudes when they talk to you or spend time with you.

We think that by following these tips, you’re sure to maintain healthy relationships with your loved ones in the military.

A Civilian’s Guide to Military Jargon

Understand Your Soldier’s Lingo


When you send your soldier-in-training to basic combat training, you’ll likely hear them say some strange phrases the next time they talk to you in person or send you a letter. If you have no idea what they’re talking about, you’re in luck! At My Hero Crate, your military care package specialist, we’ve assembled a list of military slang for your reference.

Note that this list includes slang from multiple branches of the military, including the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. And yes, there really are that many terms that mean “push-ups”!


Military Slang Terms

Ate-up: Description for a service member overly concerned with following regulations to the letter, without looking at the context of the situation.

Battle rattle: Combat gear, named for the sound all the equipment makes when the soldier moves.

Beat your face: Do push-ups.

Big Voice: Loudspeakers that broadcast urgent messages on a military base.

Bird: A military helicopter.

Blue-head: a new recruit in the first weeks of boot camp, for the blue shade their scalp looks after shaving off their hair.

Bubblehead: Anyone serving on a submarine.

Bug company: In Navy boot camp, a group of recruits incapable of performing tasks correctly.

Bunk: Bed.

Cherry: A new recruit, still in basic combat training, or a new service member on their first-ever duty assignment.

Chow: Food.

CO: Commanding officer.

Cover: Military headgear of any type.

Forward-leaning rest position or Front-leaning rest: Push-up position.

Gear adrift is a gift: If you left something behind and unattended, someone can “tactically acquire” it (which is still considered larceny). Generally speaking, if you were irresponsible enough to leave something behind, it’s your fault if it comes up missing.

Geedunk: In the Navy, snack foods, or the store where snacks are sold.

Get smoked: A tough, but fast work-out used as a punishment, in the Army. Marines say they “get thrashed.”

Hit the head: Go to the restroom.

Hooah: A spirited cry in celebration of something positive, or to express Army pride.

Joe: General term for a soldier.

Mess: Meal.

MRE: Meal, ready-to-eat.

Muster: Roll call.

On your face: Do push-ups.

PT: Physical training.

PX: Post Exchange, the base’s retail store. Called Base Exchange in the Air Force.

Quarter-decking: Performing physical training in the recruit barracks as a punishment in boot camp.

Rack Out: Go to sleep.

Rainbow Flight: A brand-new group of U.S. Air Force trainees in basic training, because of the “rainbow” of civilian clothes they wear before being issued uniforms.

Sat: Satisfactory.

Soup sandwich: A way to describe anything messy, like an unkempt uniform, for example.

Unsat: Unsatisfactory.

Woobie: Poncho liner, used as a blanket.

Zero dark thirty: Literally, a half an hour past midnight. Also used in reference to an unknown time very early in the morning. Usually pronounced oh dark thirty.


More Than a Letter or a Phone Call

Now that you know some military slang and jargon, you’re ready to talk to your soldier-in-training or enlisted soldier! It’s so much easier to carry on a conversation with someone when you understand these military-specific phrases.

Of course, when a phone conversation or even a letter aren’t enough, there’s My Hero Crate, military care packages you can send to your favorite hero, whether at home or deployed. Each My Hero Crate features popular, assorted American snacks and is designed to show your gratitude for your special someone’s military service. You can even sign your loved one up for a subscription, and they’ll receive a new My Hero Crate each month — you can cancel at any time.

Choose from three pre-built care packages:

Order a thoughtful care package for your loved one.

Basic Combat Training Care Package Wishlist

Send a Military Care Package to Your Hero

When you dropped your son or daughter off at basic combat training, the first step in their military careers, you probably wondered what their next 10 to 16 weeks would be like. You hoped they were prepared and had everything they needed to succeed.

Now that they’re on base, you treasure the brief phone calls or quick letters you receive from them. Of course, you want to send them surprises to keep their morale up as they work hard at boot camp. But not all units allow care packages–and some put strict limitations on what can be in them.

To make it easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of items your new military member would like to and can usually receive in care packages during basic combat training. Remember that your soldier has limited space to store their possessions.


Clothing Items and Accessories for a Soldier Care Package

  • White calf-length socks without logos of any kind
  • Brief underwear in white (Some units allow for brown, tan, or black as well, so check with your trainee)
  • Sports bras for women (Check for specific color requirements, but usually white, brown, tan, or black are acceptable)
  • Digital watch (black watch bands only)


Army Care Package Hygiene Items (for Navy, Air Force, and Marines, too!)

  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Unscented hair gel
  • Unscented, unflavored lip balm
  • Unscented hand lotion or body lotion
  • Fine-tooth comb
  • 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Nail clippers, without a built-in file
  • Facial tissue
  • Disposable razors for men only
  • Unscented baby wipes or flushable wipes
  • Unscented bar soap
  • Dental floss
  • Unscented stick deodorant or antiperspirant
  • Unscented laundry soap
  • Moleskin patches for blisters (available at your local drugstore)
  • Black hair ties/ponytail holders for women only
  • Lotion-style shaving cream (not in cans)
  • Cotton swabs
  • Foot powder


Stationery Items for Military Care Packages

  • Small address book, pre-filled out with family and friends’ mailing addresses
  • Black ink pens
  • Pencils
  • Journal
  • Black permanent marker
  • Plain white lined paper
  • Plain white envelopes (you can self-address and stamp them, if you’d like)
  • Stamps


Other Great Items to Include in a Care Package for Basic Combat Training

  • Religious medallions or a rosary
  • Plain black or silver combination lock
  • Cash ($50 or less)
  • Shoe inserts
  • Sugar-free menthol cough drops
  • Sewing kit
  • Tasteful personal photos
  • Bible, Quran, Torah, or other religious text
  • Icy Hot
  • Petroleum jelly


Prohibited Care Package Items

The military does not allow soldiers to possess certain items during basic combat training. Do not send these items, because they will be confiscated.

  • Ammunition or explosives (live or expended)
  • Cameras or other electronic items, including MP3 players, and radios
  • Food or beverages of any kind
  • Flavored cough drops
  • Flavored lip balms
  • Cosmetics of any kind
  • Scented lotions, colognes, perfume, or after-shave
  • Civilian clothes or eyeglasses
  • Hair products aside from shampoo or clear hair gel, including hair dryers or curling irons
  • Jewelry (wedding bands are approved)
  • Matches, lighters, and tobacco products
  • Weapons or sharp objects of any kind, including pointed scissors and pocket knives
  • Medications or health supplements, including eye drops
  • Braces (for knees, ankles, wrists, etc.)
  • Books or magazines
  • Coloring books and crayons
  • Chemical hand warmers
  • Liquid bandage
  • Games or gambling items (including dice, playing cards, etc.)
  • Any item valued more than $50
  • Military memorabilia 

The list of prohibited items is not comprehensive, and allowed items vary by unit. A good rule of thumb is, if your soldier asks for a specific item, he or she is probably allowed that item, and it is OK to send it.


Choose My Hero Crate

When your soldier-in-training graduates from basic combat training and heads off to their assignment, send them a gift from My Hero Crate! Your newly-minted soldier will know you’re thinking of them as they protect and serve their country. Shop our thoughtfully-curated collection of military care packages.