Crafting with Kix! You can WIN!

By concretin_nik November 5th, 2014

As a DadBlogger, the internet today would have me believe I should be outraged with Kix cereal and the “Kid Tested. Mother Approved” tag line. Sure, it could say Dad Approved. Or perhaps, Parent approved. But guess, what? (ChickenButt) I don’t care. It really doesn’t bother me. They’re not dissing Dads like so many companies and sitcoms. Just stating that Moms dig ‘em. Well, me too. And now, even MORE. Why? I’m glad you asked.

Crafting. That’s right… cardboard, construction paper, glue sticks, and make-a-mess-with-your-kids creativity. Kix has launched new packaging with punch outs and online interactive stories. Not only does this inspire and spark children’s imaginations, it also promotes creative reuse and recycling. They also sent me a full creative kit with pipe cleaners, sequins, popsicle sticks, glue, glitter, pom poms, and googly eyes.

Craft supplies aplenty!

While we planned to do more, we started out with just the items from the box. (With some Kix snackage too, of course.)

Cardboard shark building.

TheBoy then went online to read the stories that go along with the characters and creations from the box. ( The stories are cute and fun and very easy for even very young readers.

Let the adventures begin!

He really liked the basic interactive elements of the story, encouraging him to use the character he held in his hand to “swim” through the ocean scene that was moving on the screen.

Just keep swimming!

I laughed when he said we needed to get more boxes to make the characters for the other stories. “When we finish eating these, we can get more.” (Which will take a bit of brain power to remember, as these special boxes are only available at Target. While we do shop there, it’s not generally for grocery items.) After reading the 3 “ocean” adventures, we went back to the pile of craft supplies… TheBoy had his heart set on doing something with those pipe cleaners.
He created a “Very Hungry Caterpillar.”

He's hungry. And sparkly.

Afterwards, he still had the ocean stories on his mind, and he wanted to play cards, which meant “Go Fish” of course. My craft switch was still in the ON position(who am I kidding, it never turns off), so I did this while fishing…

BubbaGump craftin'.

And as if colored paper, googly eyes and pipe cleaners weren’t enough of a party (only slightly kidding), here’s where YOU really get to let loose! You can win one of TWO $100 Target gift cards! We’ll give one away via Twitter and one via Facebook.

Post a pic of one of your child’s craft projects and tag us (@dadlabs) and use “#Kixstories”. It doesn’t have to be from a Kix cereal box. Even the latest fingerpaint pumpkin art hanging on the fridge will do. (If you like our content, please RT it, but that is not required for entry, nor will it count as additional entry. Only one entry per person.) Enter by Saturday, November 8, Noon EST.

Like us on FB and comment with a craft story or craft photo on the Kix creative post tagged with “#Kixstories”.
Does your child come home covered in marker ink and/or finger paint with a new masterpiece for the gallery? (TheBoy often does.) Tell us about it! (Again, if you like our content, please share it on FB, but sharing is not required for entry, nor will it count as additional entry. Comment only once.) Enter by Saturday, November 8, Noon EST.

We’ll announce the winners on those platforms on Sunday, November 9. We can’t wait to see your creations and read your stories! You can read the adventures (even without the punch out characters) and see lots of craft projects at They are even on Pinterest with the crafts, Creative Kids, and great snack recipes using Kix cereal of course! Check ‘em out on Facebook and tell them DadLabs sent ya!

Disclaimer: While I (Concretin Nik) was compensated for this post, the opinions and experience relayed above are mine (and TheBoy’s).

GenderBent Halloween 2014

By concretin_nik October 28th, 2014

So what do you do when your 6 year old boy wants to dress up as a female character for Halloween? Let me spend some time thinking about that… no, I don’t think I will. You let him. End of story. (What? You were expecting controversy? #sorrynotsorry) Moving on.

That grin!

I’ve begrudgingly accepted that TheBoy doesn’t dig StarWars and superheroes. (My disappointment is selfish and action figure/toy related, it has nothing to do with him.) We’ve completely embraced the fact that he digs My Little Pony(hey, they have action figures). Yea, almost the entire MLP Universe is female characters… but the stories are great and friendship issues addressed in the show are age appropriate for a 6 year old. They are presented with minimal snark and lots of pop-culture references for the adults. But don’t call him a “Brony.” He doesn’t like that. He says he’s “just a boy who likes My Little Pony.”

His favorite is Twilight Sparkle, so he’s dressing up as Twilight Sparkle. And HisMother & I are showing our support by being other characters from MLP. I will be Discord (an odd creature, made up of many different creature parts, called a draconequus) and HisMother will be Fluttershy (a pegasus, who incidentally is Discord’s only friend). But the second best thing about these costumes, his smile being the very best thing, is getting my craft on, and I mean ON! Another cool thing I’m NOT missing out on with MLP? Fandom. The MLP genre fans rival any StarWars convention goers. Which means cosplay ideas and youtube tutorials are abundant. (click the photos to enlarge)


TheBoy and HisMother

Discord Dad!

The wings and tail. Craft foam RULES!


TheBoy’s smile, craftin’, and easy to follow directions for said craftin’. These are all things that make me happy. Good things happen when I’m happy. This parenting thing ain’t so hard. Today.

Be safe and have a great Halloween everyone!

Monster Treads! JohnDeere RC Gator

By concretin_nik September 25th, 2014

This time, the Cretin family reviews something TheBoy WILL like! The John Deere Monster Treads Gator! At only 6, TheBoy has little experience with RC vehicles. He’s had a couple of basic 1 or 2 button RCs, but nothing too fancy, or fast. His eyes lit up when I revealed this box to him. “Finally, no SuperHero toys.” *sigh* You’re killin’ me Smalls.

A box of KidJoy.

Our first attempt to play was thwarted by the inevitable toy fail of “not enough batteries.” That was my fault. We had the 6AAs, but no 9V for the controller, and my paranoia really didn’t want to set a precedent of thieving one from a smoke detector. We were both pretty disappointed in Dad. So be sure to get those before showing this to the kids.

Something else you’ll need that is not listed on the package, nor would you necessarily think about… a bike pump. The “monster treads” tires require inflation. A plastic “needle” pump adapter is included, but will go unnoticed when freeing the Gator from all of the tape and ties holding it in the box. It wasn’t until I read the manual that I learned of the pump requirement. (Yes internet, I’m a Dad that actually reads the instructions. Neurosis. Just leave it alone.) Also included is a cardboard cut-out to make it very easy to know when you’ve reached the proper size/inflation.

Checking for proper inflation.

PLAYTIME! TheBoy was so excited, even with me driving. He squealed in delight and ran from the Gator, and then wanted to chase it. (Had to put a stop to that as that would inevitably lead to him stepping on it.) The Gator is fast! Too fast for our small house really. When he took the controls, he essentially just bumped into everything, but was having a blast. We ventured outside to the yard with about 5 days of fresh growth since the last mowing. The Gator handled the semi-high grass fairly well, but not as well in reverse. It ran great in the areas where we have gravel. TheBoy never stopped smiling and yelling “Dad! Watch this! Watch this!” KidJoy.


Of course, when you have a slide, and an RC car, you WILL send it down, over and over. The large wheels didn’t have much grip on the plastic and always allowed it to spin around, usually falling off the edge sideways, causing several rolls and tumbles. But the Gator took every crash and kept on keepin’ on.

So the verdict… TheBoy gives it a big “Thumbs up!” I give it a “Meh, OK.” (Good fun, but pricey.)

TheBoy approves!

Pros: Fast and durable. The stand up and spin is a fun trick that will make kids laugh and giggle. The large inflated tires allow it to roll through grass, and make it very fast on carpet, flat surfaces, and in gravel. Six AAs and one 9V battery isn’t too bad for a vehicle this size. I also liked the quick twist access to the vehicle battery compartment(but the controller still needs a screw driver).

Cons: Unexpected tire inflation required. While it is a bit larger vehicle, for a higher end RC toy price ($59.99), I expect a better steering mechanism. Steering is done by the body of the Gator being tilted which causes the front floating axle to pivot left or right. The servo doesn’t actually control the front wheels at all. This results in a wide turning radius, which is why it is more fun outdoors, but too fast for tight quarters.

The John Deere Monster Treads Gator is recommended for kids 8+ and is available now at and local John Deere dealers.

High Rollin'

Disclosure: We were not compensated for this post but did receive the RC Gator free for the review. The opinions above are straight from the Cretin family.

Hasbro RULES! Transformers: Age of Extinction

By concretin_nik June 25th, 2014

That title = ‘nuff said. But you need photographic evidence, I know.

Seriously, that's just the BOX!

I received a most excellent Father’s Day present from Hasbro last week. I arrived home from a 3 day camping trip with TheBoy (more on that at a later date) to find a BFbox o’ new toys* promoting the new Transformers: Age of Extinction movie opening this Friday. *(I’m 41. I believe “collector pieces” is the proper term, right?)


I now own more Transformer toys than I’ve ever had in my life! And NONE of them are hand me downs! (That’s a big deal for the youngest kid of 3 brothers.) I know what you’re saying, these are for your kid, not you. But I offer evidence to the contrary. Exhibit A. My previous posts regarding StarWars and SuperHeroes toys and promos, CLEARY state the TheBoy doesn’t dig this kind of thing. Exhibit B. No request of review or anything was made by Hasbro. “Have a great Father’s Day … enjoy the toys!” Exhibit C. TheBoy can’t even carry this box! Exhibit D. The XL shirt included is obviously not for a 6 year old. Verdict? Dad’s box!


So yea, there is a stereotypical “boy” in my head that I thought I’d be raising. Based quite clearly on ME and what I liked and hated as a kid. TheBoy doesn’t like cheese burgers. Got it. I feel ya, I was exactly the same way until college. Favorite food? Pizza. Right on. But he loves fruit and yogurt. (I’ve questioned his paternity on this alone.) Everyone will warn you that “kids like what they like.” And “you can’t force them to like anything.” And you think to yourself, “I know that. But how can he NOT like THIS? I loved it!” And when it happens, you’ll be a bit lost. But when that same kid says things like, “Look Daddy! You got a great big box!” and “I kind of like them because YOU like them,” and “You’ll love this toy aisle Dad, it has Super Heroes!” you’ll know that you’re still doin’ ok raising an awesome kid.

All that being said, when we play together, he’s just gonna have to deal with Optimus Prime and his friends (and enemies) romping through Equestria right along side Applejack and Twilight Sparkle. Dad likes what he likes too.

Thanks again Hasbro! Oh, and he did LOVE the HexBug Transformers Warriors Battling Robots arena. (That’s a mouthful. Let’s just call ‘em “awesome.”) Bonus: The arena doubles as a MLP “secret lair.”

Go see Transformers: Age of Extinction. Robot dinosaurs, and Marky Mark? You know you wanna.

Disclosure: I received the BFBox o’ toys free of charge, but was not compensated (nor even requested) to write this post. This is life in the Cretin household. We simply dig Hasbro toys and games.

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