Ah Valentine’s Day, another one of those holidays where chocolate and sugar are the main attraction. As the pandemic winds on we’ve become more and more lax on Julius’ sugar intake. Before we would have a little bit of dessert a couple times a month, and then it ramped up to a few times a week. We’re trying to lower it back down, but it’s hard to go the other direction. For instance the other day we had breakfast for dinner and I was trying to convince Julius to finish his (unsweetened) applesauce which in the past he considered a sweet treat. I told him that the applesauce was delicious, and almost like a dessert. His response, “Yeah! It’s kind of like a dessert, except it’s applesauce.” No fooling this guy.
But while we ramp down on his sugar intake he still gets his sugar from other places. The other day he asked me what the soap in our bathroom was. I confirmed for him that it was “winter candy apple” which he had helped me pick out the day before. He promptly followed it up with “well I tried to taste a little bit and it was really not good.” I guess I should stop buying the food themed bath and body works products. Patricia on the other hand needs no sugar kick, just her bottom lip.
Well, chocolate and sweets aside we are in full Valentine mode at the Colton house! Julius and I finished our Valentines to send out to friends, mailed a couple cards to the grandparents, decorated for Valentine’s day and even made a Valentine’s mailbox! Last Valentine’s day was the last holiday that Julius spent in daycare before the pandemic started. He loved all the Valentines he got from his classmates and kept looking at them for months afterwards. In July we eventually threw them away and he was extremely disappointed.
This year I took a page from my friends Maren and Matt who asked friends to mail birthday cards to their toddler daughter since she couldn’t celebrate in person. Since Julius also loves getting mail, I pinged friends with toddler age kids and asked if they wanted to do a USPS Valentine exchange. They were all in! I don’t want to ruin the surprise yet so I’ll show you the Valentines we made in a future post.
We also had a Google Hangout call with the toddler penpals and did a silly craft. My craft idea was to decorate Valentines bags so they could keep their valentines inside. We have been ordering pick up from our local Hannaford’s and we love that they give you paper bags instead of plastic. The bags they deliver groceries in are the really nice raffia handled brown paper bags with no branding – so they could very easily be reused as gift bags. I’ve been saving them, but haven’t really used many of them. I thought this would be a good excuse to use some up! They are a bit too big to hold valentines, but by folding them in half they very easily turn into little triangular boxes! Watch my super quick tutorial video or follow the link below!
And if anyone wants me to ship them any of these paper bags, Ka told me about this awesome discount USPS shipping site called pirate ship that I want to try out.
Recycled Valentine Mailbox
What you’ll need:
- brown paper shopping bags (handle or no handle will work, or even bags that aren’t brown!)
- An xacto knife
- A stapler or tape
- Assorted stickers, doilies, paper hearts
- Assorted craft supplies like markers, crayons and glue sticks
- I also made some cute stickers for the kids on the cricut with leftover shipping label paper. You can use my template here.
- With the paper bag folded closed, fold the top of the paper bag down to meet the bottom edge and press with your fingers. The bottom flap of the bag will be inside the fold.
- On the side of the folded bag that does not have handles (or the side that is not the top of the bag), mark a line 7 inches long an inch below the fold.
- Open the bag up again and use the xacto knife to cut the 7 inch line.
- Fold the bag back in half again. (I did steps 1-4 before I sent the mailboxes out to everyone. I included an assortment of puffy stickers, regular stickers, doilies and heart cut outs).
- The slit is the front of the mailbox, and the top of the mailbox is the fold above the slit. Have the child decorate the front (and back if desired) of the mailbox.
- When the mailbox is fully decorated, open the bag again. Fold down the top again along the fold you created in step 1, this time with the bottom of the bag opened. The shape should look like a triangular prism.
- Staple or tape the top of the bag to the side bottom of the bag on both sides to force the mailbox to keep it’s triangular prism shape.
- Remove the handles if desired.
- Fill with Valentines!