Advent calendar

We looked and looked and looked for a children’s advent calendar for Mr. C. They were sold out everywhere. I’m sure it didn’t help that we started to look for one on December 1!

Both the Lego and Playmobil calendars cost something like $70, so I guess we saved some money by not finding one. Ms. J however decided that we really should have one, so she made one herself.

She used the bottoms of small match boxes to create individual numbered “days”, and surrounded it with an outside layer of cardboard that was covered with some cloth and a ribbon.



Here’s Mr. C opening box #1



And here’s another sample of something we put in one of the boxes. It was hard to find things to fill it up since the boxes are so small. We found some small Schleich animal figures that fit in, other boxes were filled with M&Ms or other small candies.



I usually forget how excited he is about surprises. Not all of the boxes hold little Schleich animals, many just have a couple of small pieces of candy, raisins, or just a few pieces of loose change. Even if that day’s gift is just two M&Ms, he is still very happy to find out what is in each little box. ‘Yeahhhh! Two raisins!!!!” That’s the purpose of the calendar I suppose.

Cheapest Halloween Costume Ever

Me: What do you want to be for Halloween ?

Mr. C:  A tiger!!!!!!  Roar!!!!!!!

Me:  Ok, that’s easy.

I always like the home made costumes better, and I like the challenge of trying  to make what he comes up with each year.

Take an orange shirt.  $3 from the LL Bean outlet.



Then take some masking tape and some black spray paint.  Both of which I already had.



Cover the shirt in random stripes of the masking tape, and then spray on the paint.  Remove the tape when the paint dries.

And we have a tiger!


Then we top it off with a tiger hat!  $1 orange hat at a craft store, cut off the brim and then turn that cut off brim into two ears with black marker stripes and white paint for the inside of the ears.

We also made a tiger tail too, sorry the pictures of that did not come out very well. It was a piece of rope covered in masking tape and then covered again in brown wrapping paper that was painted orange with black stripes, which was then attached to that backside of his belt.

Total cost $4!

I think this makes me officially the cheapest parent ever!


Rock Tumbling

I was very late in getting Ms. J a Christmas gift this year, so we had Christmas in March!   Yes, I was three months late in getting a Christmas gift!


It’s a rock tumbler! And yes, she did ask for this. In case anyone doesn’t know what it does, the rubber cylinder is filled with rough rocks and grit or sand, the cylinder then spins around and the grit smooths out the rocks.  My Mom can tell stories of how my older brother had a rock tumbler when he was about 10 years old and how much noise it made.  Apparently it was loud enough to knock fillings out of teeth.  I’m sure the technology has advanced in the past 40 years since this one is not that loud, but we do keep it in the basement.

It can take a few weeks to smooth out the rough edges on a small stone, but we’re using it on pieces of glass instead, which takes only about 3 or 4 days. Here’s our first attempt at getting mosaic glass pieces.

We’re using a Plymouth Gin bottle for our first experiment.  (Hmmm…..this might give a bad impression when a stay at home Dad blog includes a post about the first thing used in a craft project is a gin bottle!)


There’s an etching of a friar on the back of each bottle, when his feet get dry that’s when you know it’s time to get more gin!




It is surprising hard to smash a Plymouth Gin bottle, the glass is very thick, which is one of the reasons we wanted to use it.  Mr. C enjoyed smashing the bottle with a hammer, which must have taken about a dozen hits to break.  How many day care providers would allow a 4 year old to smash a gin bottle with a hammer ?    There are benefits to having a stay at home parent after all, so many new experiences that all the other kids who are in day care are missing out on.  The bottle was wrapped in a thick towel, and he had on safety goggles, so I’m not completely crazy.  I’m sure my Mom thinks we’re crazy though for getting a rock tumbler, she must have had flash backs to the jack hammer sounds of my brother’s tumbler of years ago when I told her about it.

Here’s the result!   Not every piece can be used, though we’re already working on more.

We’re working a blue glass bottle now, which seems to be a hard color to find.  We’re looking for red glass bottles too, if anyone can think of anything that comes in a red glass bottle let me know!