It's hard to believe that over the next two weeks grown men and women will knock down children and the elderly in order to grab a strand of plastic beads. I know you don't or won't do that consciously but when the Mardi Gras gris gris grabs you, you've gotta grab those beads!

Pretty soon your home, garage, trunk of your car will be filled with strand after strand of good, not so good and "should have thrown those back" beads. What are you going to do with all of them?

We snooped around and came up with several different ideas you might try to share the spirit of Mardi Gras throughout the year. In some cases you'll be doing a good turn for one of your neighbors right here in Acadiana. In other cases you'll just be making your life one big Mardi Gras party all year long. Here is what we found out.

Recycling Beads: There are several great organizations in Acadiana that will gladly take your donation of previously enjoyed beads. Many members of the Lafayette Auto Dealers Association did this last year and  will again be combining forces to collect beads for ARC of Acadiana. What the good people at ARC do with these recycled beads is simply amazing. You can listen for donation times and locations right after Mardi Gras is over.

Share The Mardi Gras Love: We all know people that used to live here but don't anymore. Why not send a care package of some great Cajun seasonings and a few of your spare beads? This simple gesture will make you memorable and bring back the joy of Mardi Gras to those that will only know March 4th of this year as Tuesday.

Get Crafty With Your Old Beads: This one is for the person with the steady hand and the hot glue gun. I have seen all kinds of cool things you can use your old Mardi Gras beads for. You might make a chandelier. You could create a bead tree. You could even make your own work of art using the different colored beads as your paint. There are really a lot of great ideas and idea starters. Who knows you could even create your own cottage industry for next Mardi Gras by using  your old beads today.