4M Crystal Growing Experiment

If you are following my toy reviews you know The BG loves anything sciency or interactive. For Christmas she got the 4M Crystal Growing kit, I opted for this one over the National Geographic kit based on price.


Ease of use: You will need to help with this one

Mess: This has the potential to be very messy. It involves dyes. We managed to make 0 mess.

Fun: About 30 minutes of fun making it, and a little daily fun watching it grow. After 7 days not much fun

Educational: Very


This kit is super simple to use, you stir a compound into VERY hot water. Next, you let it cool 30 minutes and pour in the dye powder. You can mix and match the dye powder to make different colors. Last you let it sit for 7 days and watch it grow.

The BG and I enjoy working on these activities together, this one was no acception. I did the pouring and The BG did the stirring.  She chose to make a red crystal and it turned out really well. You can build different size crystals. The crystals in this kit have turned out really well and are large.

The downside is you really only get to make three crystals. You could break up the packs to make more but smaller crystals. However, if you are like The BG and I you go big or go home! All-in-all this was a solid buy that we are still enjoying.


Magical Fairy Garden Fun

The BG has a serious love for gardening. Her school offers a pretty amazing community garden and garden club for the students.  For Christmas Santa decided to bring her the My Fairy Garden Magical Cottage set.


Ease of use: medium, you will likely need to assist in the initial set up

Mess: well there is dirt involved so….

Fun: takes roughly one hour to plant and design which is a lot of fun with daily fun watching it grow

Educational: Very

My Fairy Garden Magical Cottage is a small garden that includes a bag of seeds however you can also use your own. The seeds are planted in soil (included in the set) which you than water daily.

The garden has built-in drip system which is pretty cool. It comes with a table, umbrella, two chairs, a fairy, and a small rabbit you can use to either decorate the inside of the cottage or the garden itself with. The fairy comes with a wire so you can make her appear as though she is flying.  The rabbit, however, is super lame and so small it was lost day one. Also included are a rake, shovel, hoe, and small watering can.

The BG loves this thing so far. She did not have to wait long to see it sprout, you will have significant growth by day 3.

All in all for the price point this was a great buy that The BG is enjoying. Santa got this one from Amazon Prime for $14.99.

Warning: if you have any form of shared custody you will need to water the garden when your trooper is with their other parent.


Design & Drill Activity Center

This is the first of many Christmas toy reviews as The Tot Army breaks in their new surplus.


Ease of use: very

Mess: some what; lots of small pieces

Fun: hours of fun

Educational: very

The Design and Drill Activity Center is a flat board with holes you drill or screw bolts to. The set comes with a power drill and hand screw driver both with interchangeable heads. The bolts can be fastened with a flathead, phillips, etc.

The activity center comes with cards that have color designs and patterns for kids to try and replicate.

The age limit in this one is 3+ however in the picture you can see the BG having fun with it.

Quiltastic Fun

The BG favors the kinds of toys and activities that involve meticulous detail. The more she can become dazed and entranced while working on something the happier she is. For her birthday a family member gave her a Melissa & Doug Created by Me! quilt kit.

The kit is made up of fleece squares with fringe type pieces on the edges (see picture). 

The fringe pieces need to be pulled through a hole on the opposite square and tied off. This is easy enough that she is able to do it after only one walkthrough. Melissa & Doug whoever the hell they are, say this is meant for ages 6+ which I agree with. However, you do need to consider your child’s patience as this craft requires a bit of it.

The finished product is a good size that covers her whole body. and it is super soft. This craft is on the cleaner side which makes me happy, no tiny beads to clean up!

So far she is enjoying building the quilt. In fact, the only person not enjoying it is LTP who is totally annoyed her sister isn’t playing with her.

Overall if your child likes the kind of crafts that take longer to complete they will enjoy the Melissa & Doug Created by Me! Star Fleece Quilt

Good Bye Lego Lava Walk

The troops and I play with Lego more than any other toy in the house. The soldiers live to push their imaginations and spend entire days building. I would be lying if I said I dont love having an excuse to play with my favorite childhood toy.

What we dont love is cleaning up the 1000’s of tiny pieces. I am also not a big fan of stepping on lose pieces we missed. 

My favorite purchase of 2018 is the OzzyKids toy storage bag. The bag uses a drawstring system which allows the bag to spread out like a large play mat. When done, you simply draw the strings and wallah! No more messy cleanup and bloody feet. 

By far one of the most priceless items we own. 

Toy Storage/Deluxe toy organizer and floor activity mat/Canvas PlayBag by OzzyKids-Makes toy storage and cleanup a breeze-Turns into a shoulder bag-BONUS GIFT (Orange)

Snake Plissken Plays Santa

Netflix per usual has offered up a variety of Christmas movies including a few Netflix originals. One of these Holiday flicks is The Christmas Chronicles starring Kurt Russel. 

If like me you are desperately searching for something to watch the whole family can enjoy check this one out. 

During a little R&R time the troops and I stumbled on this one and figuring anything with Snake Plissken cant be that bad we turned it on.

After crashing his sleigh, a brother and sister are tasked with helping Santa get Christmas back on track. I wont lie and say this is a totally original Christmas story. The brother is headed down a bad path after the death of the children’s father. The two siblings have grown apart and fight non-stop. Through their adventure with Santa the two bond and the brother of course sees the light. 

What The Christmas Chronicles does offer is Kurt Russel doing some of his funniest work since Big Trouble in Little China and a handful of funny little characters like the reindeer and elves to keep the younger kids interested. 

So if you are in search of a holiday movie this Christmas check it out.  

Image result for The Christmas Chronicles

Far from Frivolous Air Fryer

When The Tot Army gets hungry mutiny becomes a real risk. It constantly seems I can not get dinner on the table fast enough. A good Air Fryer is far from a frivolous purchase.

But what does an Air Fryer do?  An air fryer is a way to fry or bake foods and can reduce the amount of fat, calories, and potentially harmful compounds in your food. Air Fryers essentially deep fry your food without the use of oil.

In addition the Air Fryer can bake foods in about half the amount. Also, it doesn’t need to pre-heat like an oven. The Tot Army has an addiction to veggie tots, of course they arent aware their tater tots are stuffed with cauliflower or broccoli.

The air fryer reduces the 25 minute cook time + time to pre-heat the over down to 12 minutes. Standard frozen french fries are only 10 minutes unless you like them on the crunchy side in which case you are looking at 15 minutes. 

Even home made breaded chicken fingers or nuggets can be cooked in as little as 15 minutes. You are talking about cooking meat in 15 minutes my friends. 

Base is located in a dry and often very hot location. Unlike the oven our air fryer doesn’t let off excess heat so using it doesn’t make the house hot. 

Personally I purchased the Farberware 3.2 Quart for $55 at Walmart. While it doesnt have the digital features other fryers have such as a delayed timer, it gets the job done. It is easy to clean and super easy to use as well.