Tuesday, April 15, 2008

This is Your Bag Lady Speaking!

Today is all about the brown paper bag, but first some business....

Quick Update:

It's tempting to lead with the fact that today is the dreaded TAX DAY, but how can I when we had such a big day yesterday! 209 people visited the site yesterday, more than any other day by almost 85 people. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Now, new people.... if you are out there and I hope you are... WELCOME to our fun community where LOTS is going on everyday. Please pass the site along to people you know who might enjoy the site and get us that much closer to our goal. Two days left and we still need 1,708 people. If all 209 of you who showed up yesterday also showed up again today, and got 7 of your friends to visit, we would be at our goal. I refuse to believe we can't make this happen.

  • Congratulations, Jenna! You are the lucky winner of our very Funny! contest. For the newcomers... Sunday I posted a word for one hour only. Those readers who posted the word in a sentence on today's blog were entered in a drawing for a care package from me. The word was "funny." The kicker... to know you actually saw the word on Sunday (as opposed to copying from someone else who posted), loyal Sunday viewers were told to capitalize the letter "F" and place an explanation point after the word. Nine of you successfully completed the challenge and were placed in the raffle (drawn by Matthew tonight at dinner).
  • Today's letters are: K I, and S. Tomorrow is the last day to collect letters. The first to unscramble all the letters and post the item name in the comment section will receive "it" in the mail.
  • Tomorrow is the last day to refer people to the site and earn points. We have lots of people in the game right now... Heather, Cheryl, Lori, Treye, Katie, Alison, and Cassie P. Hopefully I'm not missing anyone.
  • Anon... where are you? It's been a few days since you visited our community. If you're out there... I miss your posts.
  • Close2it, thanks for deciding to stop lurking and to start getting in on the fun. We look forward to everything you will offer.

Onto the business of the day...

I've realized over the past three days how much I love brown paper bags. I've always known I've had a "thing" about shopping bags. I just can't seem to throw them out. I actually have a bag of bags. That's right... one BIG, over sized gift bag filled with bags... Container Store, Ann Taylor (the shinny bags are the best), Brooks Brothers (oohhhh... they make great bags with long handles and sturdy paper... not to mention their perfect boxes) to name a few. But, mostly the bag of bags is filled with brown paper bags from the grocery store. I know I need to be responsible and give up the brown bags for my own mesh bag that I bring with me each time I grocery shop, but the idea of giving up my steady,weekly supply of free brown bags is more than I can come to terms with. At least right now. Brown bags are a free gift for anyone who has kids or who has even the smallest amount of craftiness in their DNA.

This weekend I got Matthew (my almost four year old, for those of you who are new to the site) busy making decorations for his birthday party this upcoming weekend. Again and again and again, I found myself reaching for brown paper bags. So often did it happen that I decided today I would share the virtue of this perfectly simple AND FREE item. Then I'd love to hear from you how you use brown paper bags.

My fondness for these bags goes back to elementary school. My sisters and I would come home from P.S. 98 on the first day filled with hope and an arm full of text books that need book covers. Through the magic of my mother, we would go to sleep and awake - each to our own perfectly covered stack of books. Edges were creased and our names and the subjects were perfectly printed on top. As we got older we learned the tricks of the trade - creasing edges and making the covers fit perfectly snug. Still, years later... a text book covered in brown paper, and crisp and clean, makes me smile. I don't know that it has the same effect on Ricky, but who's asking?!?!?!

Back to last weekend and preparing for Matthew's "Florida Party." As mentioned last week, Matthew desperately wanted to go to Florida for his birthday. Since we couldn't make that happen, we figured we would bring Florida to him, by having his guests "travel" with him to to our backyard - where all things will smack of the Sunshine State.
We started with fish... enter brown paper bags. Cut the bags down the center; outline a fish shape; cut it out of the bag; have Matthew cover with paints of all colors; let dry; staple edges together, leaving a small space for newspaper shred to be inserted; stuff with newspaper shred; staple shut; and voila... we have free decorations. Added bonus... Matthew helped make the decorations. His participation gets him more excited about his party and lets him know that hosting people requires effort.

Next goody boxes... enter brown bags. Sure, we could have just stuck his friends treats in a bag of some sort... or even in a beach pail (be used to serve lunch in), but instead what about suitcases. Easy as one, two, three. One... buy 9 white boxes (.49 cents each) and travel sized treats to go inside. Two... have Matthew in assembly line style drop one of each item in each party-goers box. Three... wrap white boxes in brown paper and then hot glue handles to the top. For extra authenticity color the corners black and add some travel stickers. Again, the brown paper bag comes to the rescue again.

All this pseudo-crafting would not be made possible without the brown paper bag used as a craft mat. Simply cut it down the side and again the brown paper bag can be used to protect our kitchen table, counter tops, and garage floor.

I could go on.... At Thanksgiving, brown paper bags were used to make Indian vests and Indian headdresses. When Matthew was learning about postmen in preschool and decided he'd found his life purpose, I used a brown paper bag to make him his very own mail sack. Even last year, a group of students of whom I am very proud, slit brown paper bags down the center to create seat saddles for their western-themed breakfast (the handles were the stirrups). Can you picture it? There's an easy way to make a typical family dinner more fun. Cook up some hot dogs, baked beans, drink root beer, and sit in paper saddles.

And if absolutely all else fails.... it can still be used for "brown bagging" it to the office... which after submitting tax returns for this year might be in your future the way it is in mine... (and my husbands)!

Signing off until tomorrow when we engage in one of our favorite weekly rituals... Whack on the Side of the Head Wednesday!

P.S. I don't totally want to ignore the fact that it is TAX DAY, so if you feel compelled tell us... are you paying or receiving this year (we're paying in a big way)? And if you are receiving... what will you do with your small windfall? If none of that interests you... tell us of an in genius way you might have used a brown paper bag.

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