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Monica Bielanko
A chronicle since 2005 of my marriage & move to Brooklyn in my twenties; becoming a mother in my thirties; moving to Pennsylvania and learning to amicably coparent after divorce in my forties while living 3 doors down from my ex-husband in a small country town.
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Wednesday
Jun202012

What's Inside? (Plus A Giveaway)

POST CLOSED. WINNER IS: Marya (Mtmmarya@aol.com)

This post is sponsored by BabbaCo.com. They want to give one of you a free box of their goodies, so read onward and leave a comment for your chance to win.

"Gramma'll give ya a shiny kwarter if ya rake all them leaves on my lawn." Grandma would say to us when we complained of being bored.

Standing on Grandma's back porch we'd survey the windfall of leaves covering the grass like an old patchwork quilt. You'd think we'd scoff at completing such an enormous task for something so measly as a quarter. But we did it. Money was hard to come by in those days of food stamps, powdered milk and Cream Of Wheat. And it just so happens that a quarter was the exact amount needed to purchase what was called a "Grab Bag" at the corner market.

One of our favorite ways to kill time until mom got home from work was to walk to the corner store and buy candy. We'd get a couple pennies here, a dime there, a "kwarter" from Grandma. We'd rake and rake with visions of walking to the store and spending what felt like hours debating which penny candies we'd purchase. I was a huge Root Beer Barrel fan. Candy! That tasted like root beer! You've got to remember this was before the odd phenomenon that is Jelly Belly candy. Candy that tastes like buttered popcorn or Chili Mango or Strawberry Jam was beyond my realm of comprehension back then. Brother Brandon was partial to the Bazooka gum, so hard it could break your teeth on a first chaw, that came wrapped with temporary tattoos.

But, hands down, our favorite purchase was a "Grab Bag". For our shiny kwarter we could choose from about twenty plain brown lunch sacks the store owner prepared each day. The sacks contained a smorgasbord of candies and sometimes even a prize! The Grab Bag was a gamble, one not always worth the risk of your hard-earned coinage (too much Salt Water Taffy filler equals a bust), but an exciting purchase nonetheless.

Maybe there'd be Root Beer Barrels, maybe not. Maybe you'd really score and there'd be a miniature candy bar in there among the penny candies. Those were good days, the miniature candy bar discovery days... The kid who chose that Grab Bag would prance home, holding the bag aloft in victory. I miss those days, when something so small could make such a huge difference. We'd deliberate over the grab bags forever, testing their heft and shaking them when the store owner was helping other customers.

Now I realize it wasn't so much about what was in the bag but all the excitement of choosing a bag and opening it that was the best part. We'd pay for our bags and then find a little spot a couple feet from the store's entrance to squat and see what we scored. Like sorting through a haul of Halloween candy after the big night, we'd go through each item in our bags. Root Beer Barrels - yes! Salt Water Taffy - ugh! Bazooka gum. With tattoos inside! Tootsie rolls! I got a candy bar!

The Grab Bag memories came roaring back when I received this thing called a BabbaBox in the mail last week. BabbaCo is kind of like a hi-tech version of the corner store Grab Bag. For a monthly subscription they send you out a box each month filled with all sorts of cool stuff. Among a bunch of stuff the box I received has a disposable camera, a paint set and a project to paint, and some other great projects centered around the theme of gratitude.

As Violet and I pilfered through all the stuff and exclaimed about each carefully packaged activity I couldn't help but remember those days huddled outside the corner store going through our Grab Bags. It's not so much about what's inside although that's important. But the anticipation of discovery is equally valuable. What's inside? What could it be?

That's what I dig about the BabbaBox - not only do you and your kids get to look forward to a package to open and explore each month, but you've got a slew of cool things to do. Stuff that, unless your dad was Mister Rogers, you probably wouldn't think to do on you own, you know? There's even a little gift for mom or dad in each box as well. Score.

So, as with all my sponsored posts, I try to offer a little something-something to you guys as well to make reading it worth your while. So, if you want a free BabbaBox (suggested for 3 to 6 year olds) delivered to your door here's what you need to do: sign up for the BabbaCo newsletter then leave a comment on this post stating what you love about the BabbaBox. You'll find the link at the top of this page after clicking the word NEWSLETTER. You can leave a second comment if you "like" the BabbaCo Facebook page and follow BabbaCo on twitter and say you did those things.

BabbaCo is also offering a 50% discount to anyone who wants to become a member. The coupon code TGW50OFF is good for 50% off your first box (must be used within 7 days from the date of this post) so if you sign up for a monthly, your first charge will be for $15, then 29.99 per month after that. If you sign up for an annual, you will receive $15 off the total price, so you're getting your first box for 50% off. You can also get 20% off your first BabbaBox using the TGW20OFF code and unlike the 50% discount, this coupon code has no expiration.

Reader Comments (14)

I have absolutely nothing to add except that I went to high school with Jess, the founder of BabbaCo. So weird to see her sponsoring your post.

June 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKat

Wow, what a great idea! I'm going to order one with the discount to check it out. My son LOVES getting mail, and this is something we could do together. Would make a great gift too...
It was super smart of the founder of the company to have you do a sponsor post. You're about the only blog I still read and enjoy regularly!

June 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

I'm not gonna sign up for more stuff, but wanted to chime in and add that this is why I love WOOT! and their random "Bags of Crap" offered during their monthly Woot-offs! Hard as hell to get, but for $3 plus shipping, you're guaranteed one bag and 3 random craps! The last one I scored contained a Reusable grocery bag, a random woot! t-shirt (in MY size!!) an over the door coat rack, 2 packs of AAA batteries, 2 battery-operated (conveniently!) tennis racquet bug zappers/swatters, and an MST3K video. And the waiting for that magical box to come is usually SO MUCH better than what's inside! So I guess what I'm trying to say, is that I so get where you're coming from! In fact, my daughter gets as excited as I do when the mailman drops the box in our garage.
"Mommy, MY B.o.C. is here!!!!"

June 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteryotko

These boxes are such a great idea. I wish they'd had them when my girl was 3-6!

June 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersweetney

I signed up for the newsletter- what a great idea! And I desperately need something to save me from endless hours of playing legos and cars.

June 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

What a super cool idea!

June 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterShawna

Woo hoo also liked babba co on facebook!!!

June 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterShawna

Super coolio, I want to play!

June 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralexandra

Liked BabbaCo on facebook....
This actually reminded me of when I was little, I had a book called 100 Free Things for Kids. You could send a postcard request to all these different places and get something free in the mail. I handwrote and sent for all 100 things...and made friends with my mailman that summer! He couldn't wait to see what I got in the mail either! I had everything from a red plastic popcorn ball mold to a travel activities kit from Montana. It was so much fun and I've loved mail ever since.

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

I signed up for the Babbaco newsletter and think it would be A TON of fun to subscribe to the boxes! Gonna see if my budget will allow for it.

Just yesterday I was waxing nostalgic about riding our bikes down Sandhill road (scary thought these days!) to the gas station for penny candy and ice cream bars. My kids have never had that same experience- and something akin to my childhood memory is on our summer bucket list now.

Thanks for the giveaway and the walk down memory lane. :)

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnjie B.

This is SUCH a cool idea - thanks for sharing it....and for the chance for a giveaway box! I think I'm going to try one with the coupon, too...my daughter would absolutely love this (which is what I would love about the BabbaBox!)...

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterhanni

I LOVE this idea! I am starting to Homeschool my older daughter- yikes!- and this would be a perfect Friday activity!

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarya

o seu bolg é muito bom .......... e instrutivo .....parebens

June 23, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterivan ss

This is such a cute idea! My kids love getting mail! My mom would always send them a package . She passed away 3 years ago and the kids miss it so much!

June 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJen

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