Archive for the ‘Toys’ Category

Equal Opportunity SuperHero Meh

By concretin_nik Monday, March 31st, 2014

We all know I’m a Super Hero fan. I’m no Super Geek and won’t go ballistic on a movie production if they don’t follow the original comic storyline. To. The. Letter. I mean come on, we’re supposed to buy the idea that glasses and wardrobe change are a sufficient disguise for Superman and Wonder Woman? If it’s entertaining, I’m in. If my kid digs it, I’m REALLY in… so my frustration continues… because even with Super Hero toys and a t-shirt or two, he still says, “I’m really not into them. They’re ok.” Not Marvel. Not DC. *crushyourDadwhydon’tya*

But it’s not for lack of exposure. He digs the toys we have, and he’ll mention them when he sees Super Hero shows/images/random sightings, because he knows I like them. “You’ll like this toy aisle Daddy, it has Super Heroes.” (Such a sweet kid.) But even throwing a Cheerios promo in the mix of fantastically abnormal humanoids apparently isn’t gonna do it. Don’t think for a second that’s gonna stop me from trying! How else am I going to justify buying thousands of dollars worth of action figures!? (Seriously, I’m asking!)

If YOUR kid digs comics and DC Heroes, check out specially marked boxes of General Mills cereals through April for exclusive in-box comic books featuring various Super Heroes from the iconic DC Comics Justice League. And if you’re a serious collector, there is a bonus issue only available at Target.

Special Edition Comic and Cheerios

Get this...

The boxes will have Super costume pieces ready to cut and wear printed on the back.

The back of the Cheerios box.

Cut these out... Be Super!

Get in on the action and share your photos tagged “#SuperHeroing” on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


Wasn't easy, but eventually got him to humor me. *sigh* #SuperHeroing

Disclosure: DadLabs was not compensated for this post, though I did receive the Cheerios and the Superman shirt free. But the story of angst above is all mine. –Concretin Nik

Avengers Assemble! Redefined

By concretin_nik Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

TheBoy doesn’t dig super heroes like most little boys. Much to my dismay. I mean, it’s ok, kids like what they like. But his lack of any obsessiveness with super heroes also means I don’t have an excuse to buy action figures like I have been counting on for the last 6 years. My action figure desires are somewhat quelled by his fondness of My Little Ponies. (MLP for you hipsters.) At least they do have small plastic action figures, even if they do have hair and are presented in pastels and rainbows. I can still work with this. Crafting playsets out of cardboard and making stop motion movies gets us playing together, and sparks his imagination. And that’s the whole point of action figures (for me anyway). Perhaps the citizens of Equestria will be gateway figures to more ‘core toys like Star Wars, Batman, and The Avengers. Hope springs eternal.

Hasbro has perhaps come through for me with Super Hero Mashers. These are action figures with extremities that have the interchangeability of Legos. Want to see what Spiderman would look like with Iron Patriot’s head? You can do that. Want a hero with the smash power of the Hulk, yet wears the drapes of Thor’s mother. Tada! Easy. (Didja catch that Avengers reference?)

Hasbro Super Hero Mashers

The All American Super Hero Mashers

I received a package of 2 Mashers. Let me first say that on both figures, the elbow joints took some serious elbow grease (see what I did there?) to get moving, as they were locked up out of the box. They loosened up enough after a bit o’ working them back and forth. Other than that, these seem like toys with a cool design that your 11 year old will dig, but are also durable enough that your 5 year old won’t destroy them.

They sent me a Fourth of July set, if you will, of Iron Patriot and Captain America. So the typical mishmashing of trading out arms and legs didn’t produce a particularly dramatic result, though TheBoy was already laughing and having fun. (Score 1!) But let’s see if we can’t come up with something even more fun. Enter… IRON PRIMATE, and CAPTAIN MONKEYPANTS!

Our Mashups

Gorillas be super patriotic, yo! #mymashup

We laughed and laughed and made gorilla noises the entire time. I’m not sure these will ever get switched up again. Thank you (again) Hasbro! The Super Hero Mashers are a hit in the Cretin house!

You can get in on the fun and share your mashups on Facebook and Instagram tagging with #MyMashUp.

Disclosure: I received the toys free from Hasbro in exchange for my honest review and opinion. –Concretin Nik

A Playscape Retirement

By Daddy Clay Friday, August 9th, 2013


Headlamp illuminating a gruesome scene of bloody knuckles and scattered tools, I had a recurring thought, he better use this damn thing. Every day. That kid may get his meals on this playscape.

I’m not handy, but I am single minded, so in about 36 almost unbroken hours of torquing bolts and tweaking screws, the thing was complete: A little wooden fortress on stilts, accessed by ladder or climbing wall, a sand pit below, a two-person porch swing on one side, individual swings on the other.

He did use it, my oldest. So did his younger sister. Then his little brother. And dozens, maybe a hundred or more other kids. Guests and strangers alike. Countless hours of playtime.

Over the years, the playscape came to be a kind of family emblem and a gathering place for our funky little community (we live on a boarding school campus), always a feature, if not the centerpiece of birthday parties, work celebrations, and our annual Egg Hunt. We’d like to think our house has been a social crossroads, our yard a natural gathering place. My kids grew up on the playscape, but others too. I have the pictures to prove it. Read the rest of this entry »

Father’s Day Gifts Served Up at BlogHer Food

By Daddy Clay Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Some last-minute Father’s Day ideas inspired by BlogHer Food, recently held here in Austin, Texas.

There are a few people and organizations that I try always to say yes to. Doug French and Dad 2.0,  the United Nations Foundation, Kristen Chase of CoolMomTech to name a few.

Add to that list the people from BlogHer.

So when they contacted me about the possibility of leading an excursion for the attendees of BlogHer Food here in Austin, my response was instantaneous. I’m in. What could be more fun than leading a group of mom bloggers through South Boston’s funkiest eateries?

The evening was a blast as we bounced from a funky Taco stand, to a global fusion hipster joint, to the craziest donut trailer of all time. Thanks to everyone who made it to all our crazy stops.

I also thought of the conference would be a perfect place to test out my leading candidates for the ultimate Father’s Day gift: a Korchmar Marshall backpack and briefcase combo. It will be a tough sell. I have loved my North Face backpack. Its numerous slots compartments and pockets are perfect for a gadget toting geek. The question is is it really suitable for a man of 46 to be hauling around a shapeless black backpack to professional events?

The Korchmar is a grown-up’s alternative to the collegiate knapsack. With its canvas material and leather trim, the craftsmanship is as sturdy as it is gorgeous to look at. With the straps stowed in their dedicated pocket the bag is a squarish briefcase.  With  pockets for laptop gadgets and gizmos, the commodious main pocket, and two large side pockets this bag easily swallowed all the gear that I transferred from my North Face.

With the straps deployed, this nifty little pack fits neatly on your upper back. You feel ready to move through an urban environment with the knowledge that you look spiffy while doing so. This is a rugged, handmade, leather-trimmed product lovingly made here in the USA and the price reflects that ($522). It’s a premium bag for a premium price. But you’ve been a good dad right? And you’ll probably never need another one.

If you’re expecting more new dad looking for something slightly lower down the price chain have a look at the Diaper Dude. Always dependable for creating thoughtful well-made bags at a reasonable price point ($78). And now they’ve made licensing deals with some of your favorite sports teams. The Boston Red Sox logo emblazoned on the front this bag dispels any notion that taking care of the baby is exclusively a mom’s responsibility. You can call it a diaper bag, but this piece can clearly  outlast infancy.

It won’t be here in time for Father’s Day, but if the guy in your life is a fitness nut, a data guy, or somebody interested in living up to their health and fitness resolutions, I suggest a fitbit Flex ($99). This item is certainly on the top of my list this year. I feel like this unit would complement my Nike+ running applications to give me a complete picture of the activity I’m doing when not running and also help me improve my sleeping habits. The units are currently backordered on fitbit’s website, but I think it would be worth the wait.

And I will say this again this year — there is no better gift than a gift certificate to a high end barbershop. A straight razor shave is an indulgence that many guys are hesitant to shell out for, but once you’ve had one, look out. A full man-spa haircut/shave/treatment is an awesome gift, and something dad isn’t likely to do for himself. These services will cost somewhere from $30-$75.

Have a great Father’s Day everyone.

Disclosure: I was provided test samples of the Korchmar and Diaper Dude bags, but was not otherwise compensated for the post. Opinions are my own.