So, we went to the closest Wal-Mart and started shopping. We spent a good chunk of the money donated there but the store was an absolute mess. We decided we'd try another one about 15 minutes away since we still had some donation money left but didn't want to work back through the messy aisles. So, we took our full cart, headed to check out, loaded up all the toys we had, had a conversation with the cashier and then loaded the toys up into the car and off we were to the next one. (The cashier was curious why we had so many toys, lol.)
Round 2. The store wasn't a mess at all and they had more toys to choose from. Sadly, we had spent most of the donation money doing Round 1 at the first store. I honestly didn't get all that many donations from the blogging world this year which had me discouraged quite a bit because I wanted to get more toys this year than I did last year. I'd already got quite a few toys in November with my own money in hopes that it might get more people to donate a few dollars when they saw that a few dollars really was enough to buy something. I ended up spending a little more last night as well during Round 2 because they had so many toys marked down that I really just couldn't resist. I had my notebook with me and was keeping up with how much we were spending. Once the donation money was out, I grabbed another 10 or so toys and then made myself stop there, lol. Then The Lawyer decided he wanted to help out and went back over the aisles grabbing what he wanted and spent quite a bit himself. It amused me because he'd never even heard of Toys For Tots until I had told him about it and he was so careful in his picks because he wasn't sure what to get since he doesn't have kids himself. I pointed out that most any toy wouldn't be a bad toy but he was still very selective of what he got. With a second full cart, we headed to the check-out.
We got dolls, action figures, cars, dress up stuff, pre-school toys, learning toys, arts/crafts stuff, legos, some kid books, activity books, puzzles, random games, things that light up and a couple things that make obnoxious noises. We got a good selection of toys.
I want to say thank you to those of you who donated. Whether it was $2, $10, $25, $50 or more; it doesn't matter. I appreciate it and I know the families that benefit from Toys for Tots doing what they do appreciate it, too. I have so much fun being able to do this. I admit it was a little stressful to keep up with this year since I work such long and crazy hours and only get one day off a week. I almost didn't because I wasn't sure I'd be able to get it done and knew I wouldn't have as much time to put into the online aspects of it because I'm hardly on my computer anymore. Even though it wasn't as easy to get it all done this year, I still enjoyed it and am super happy I decided to do it again. I look forward to doing this again next year, too. :) I also want to say thank you to everyone who posted on their blogs, tweeted links and otherwise
Now, I bet y'all are ready to see the pictures, eh?
Let me say... Last year, I got a total of 83 toys. Which was awesome but my goal for this year was to get more than that. Like I said earlier, I was discouraged about the lack of online donations this year and didn't think I'd meet my goal of surpassing what I did last year.
This is the result last year:
The result for this year were, as I had hoped, better than last year. I ran out of room on the bed for placing the toys and had to push them closer together and do some creative placement to get them all to fit where as last year I had plenty of extra space to spare.
I was able to get a total of 105 toys this year. :) 22 more than I got last year. I was so excited after we added them up. (Thankfully the total items were listed on the bottom of each receipt, including the one from when I got toys in November. So, we didn't have to count each toy individually. That would have sucked. And yes, laying all of those toys out and then bagging them back up took some time, lol.)
I did a slideshow of all the pictures from shopping, laying the toys out, close up shots of the toys, loading them up and delivering them to Toys for Tots. Yes, we put most of the toys into white forceflex trash bags. I had over 25 Wal-Mart bags and figured it would be easier to load and unload larger bags instead of having tons of smaller bags full of toys. The Marines that unloaded the car for us agreed that it was a great idea to use the forceflex bags. ;)
To see the slideshow on Flickr's page, click here. You can see the full sized images if you view it on Flickr's page which makes it a lot easier to look over and see details. :)
Thanks again to everyone who donated and/or helped out in some way. Y'all rock!