Monthly Archives: August 2013

A Song of Cardboard and Packing Tape

Castle, front view

IKEA trips are always a blast, and the fun doesn’t have to stop after assembling all the furniture. That is the fun part, right? After all was said and done outfitting the kids’ rooms with new beds, dressers, bar stools (those were for mommy and daddy, of course), and more, we were left with a huge pile of large cardboard boxes – perfect materials for a fort!

I knew right off the bat that it would be a castle-themed fort, but beyond that I had no concrete plans. While I thought to research how to best approach the design so that I could then draw up some proper blueprints, the cardboard just sat there taking up space. With my wife lustfully eyeing the recycling bin as days passed by, I decided to just ditch the plans and wing it. So here’s what I did:

Starting with same-sized boxes for the four corners, I set each one up at ninety-degree angles. This would set the height and width of the structure. I then found some other boxes to fill in the gaps, again utilizing ninety-degree angles, which would act as load-bearing walls to help support a roof, while at the same time adding some visual interest inside. Everything was secured with my trusty packing tape.

There were flaps on the tops of the boxes, so I began cutting them at intervals to make the tops of the walls into crenelated battlements (the alternating notches atop the castle walls from which archers could defend the castle) purely for the visual appeal, although subsequently realizing that the folded down sections would be great for laying down and attaching the roof.

CornersIn the spirit of any fan of George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones and the whole A Song of Ice and Fire series, I felt obliged to include a throne. Not just any ordinary seat, but an over-the-top, hulking, behemoth of a cardboard throne. Thus, when laying down the roof, I left a very large semi-circular hole at the back, where the cardboard throne could be lowered into place. Fortunately, I had kept all of the thick cardboard strips, used in place of styrofoam, to hold the IKEA pieces in place inside the boxes. They made for some great swords that could be attached to a back piece. The seat itself is basically a box with reinforced cross-sections inside, which could easily hold the weight of two tiny butts, and possibly even a cat.

Photo Aug 24, 10 51 01 AM Photo Aug 24, 10 53 49 AM View from aboveFInally I cut out arched windows and doors, added some lantern hooks, and threw in a working flagpole. While I still have a few minor touches to add, “The Cardboard Keep” is all but finished.


It sounds like a lot of work, but the whole thing came together rather quickly. The hardest part was just getting started. Watching my kids dress up and play inside everyday made it well worth the time spent. I’d really love to see how other people went about creating forts of their own, so if you have some photos, please send them my way!


I’m a Super Milk Man!

I’m excited to announce that thanks to the team at Life of Dad, I’ve been selected as one of twenty-five official blogger entrants in a contest where the prize is (wait for it) breakfast with The Rock!


It is all part of the promotion of The Rock’s milk campaign, which you may recall from his 2013 Super Bowl “got milk?” ad. This hits home for us here at Secret Dad Society, where milk is king. Our kids’ favorite breakfast is milk and cereal, which is often the very first thing my little sleepyheads ask for every morning as we head downstairs. We’ve been fortunate that they haven’t caught on to sugary drinks, and that the sippy cups stay well stocked with water and milk all day long. With picky eaters, it is such a great way to get the protein my children need to fuel them throughout the day. It certainly helps fuel daddy as well! For more on milk recipes, tips, and other fun, visit The Breakfast Project.

I’m extremely excited to be a part of this contest. I can’t stop imagining what questions I’d ask The Rock in person, and how ridiculous I’d look standing side-by-side with him, especially since we sport the same hairdo. Then there is the fact that I’m undeniably short by average standards. Heck, I’m short even by middle school standards, so putting my tiny, bald physique next to The Rock would basically make me his mini-me. If he’s The Rock, I’d be the Pebble. Oh, and I can do quite the eyebrow arch to boot. Yes, it would be the utmost coolest experience indeed.

As a contest participant, I had to make an Instagram video showing how milk helps to make me a super dad throughout the day. It’s my first Instagram video and was so much fun to make. Please view my video entry here: Super Milk Man. Did you happen to catch the large cardboard castle fort at the end? A post about that is coming soon!

You can also view some of the other great entries by following #SuperMilkMan on Instagram, and don’t forget to follow @MilkMustache and @LifeofDadShow for even more milk fun!

All contest entrants are paid by Life of Dad, LLC to participate in this event. My children, however, are not paid to drink milk.

The Adventures of Sprowkey: Chapter 6, Tucson

The Adventures of Sprowkey is part of a series following the whereabouts of a trackable geocaching item. Actual locations and events surrounding this trackable item form the basis for a fictional narrative, creating a unique and interactive geocaching experience. For more background on this series, see the first installment of The Adventures of Sprowkey
TucsonSprowkey was becoming quite comfortable at Traveler’s Rest. He hadn’t felt this welcome amongst others since being separated from his true family. The camaraderie was nourishing to his spirit, and he would have happily stayed and rested here a bit longer, had an amazing opportunity not fallen into his lap. An experienced and fearless traveler, whom people only know as “Boomer,” had returned to Traveler’s Rest once again. Boomer’s travels have taken her around the world, so on the rare occasions that she manages to visit her home away from home, all work ceases for a short-lived celebration, until the next adventure begins.

Thomas the Donkey saw her return as a sign, and tasked Boomer with the job of guiding Sprowkey further west towards his destination. Having been indebted to Thomas for over a decade, she had felt that she may never have a chance to repay the debt. Therefore, it was without hesitation that Boomer accepted the assignment.

After an emotional goodbye with Thomas, Farm Cat, and the rest of the clan, Sprowkey and Boomer set off on a southern course, stopping in North Carolina to take care of some of Boomer’s other “business” before continuing on to Tucson, Arizona, where their journey together would come to an end. Boomer had taken Sprowkey as far west as was possible, and it was more than he could ever have hoped to accomplish in such a short time. It was now time to part ways.

For the time being, Sprowkey is lying low in a geo-hotel occupied by other weary travelers and rough characters. According to Boomer, a trustworthy acquaintance will find him and further assist him in his travels. While he has not had any trouble here yet, these folk are nothing like the close-knit clan at Traveler’s Rest. They all appear to be ruthless nomads looking out for no one but themselves. Will this “acquaintance” prove any different?

Total miles traveled: 6604


The Adventures of Sprowkey: Chapter 5