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I originally planned on posting this on August 15. I wish I would've, but more time-sensitive things got in the way over the course of the past two weeks. Most of this has been written, sitting as an unpublished draft awaiting release to the public for the purpose of standing up for what's right. For standing up for the power and glory of all-things pumpkin spice!

You see, it's that time again. As the kids are back-to-school, your favorite (and not-so-favorite) retailers are gearing up for the holidays. In fact, it seems that there's more holidays than ever these days (every day is a "National _____ Day" of some kind), but as we look toward the end of the year, it's the "Big Two" that always loom large: Christmas and Halloween. In many cases, "Christmas in July" is more than a simple advertising promotion, and chains like Hobby Lobby are locked, stocked and ready to rock with the festive gear as early as June. As we hit August, familiar shades of orange and black start popping up with increasing frequency as Back-to-School departments are flipped in preparation for the most glorious day of the year, October 31. And, just as signs of the holidays begin to appear, it's time once again for chronic complainers to start whining about what they deem "too early" (online it's usually done with excessive CAPS and !!!), and likewise many media outlets to start running what's basically a stock article at this point about "Christmas Creep" and the like. Newsflash: none of this is new, and the true problem lies in the complainers and their ridiculous "outrage."

Published in James' Journal

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Snyder’s-Lance. All my opinions are that of James Zahn, The Rock Father™. #pmedia #Pop4Captain http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Are you ready for adventure? This summer, Captain Underpants took a flying leap from the printed page of the best-selling book series, landing on cinema screens to the delight of families everywhere. Now, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is coming home on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD September 12, and now is the perfect time to pre-order the movie from Walmart and make plans for an epic early fall movie night. I've got a few tips to help you make the most of it, with snacks from Pop Secret and Lance, along with some free printables that the kids will love!

Published in Movies, TV and More

Warner Bros.' The LEGO Batman Movie has proven to be one of 2017's biggest hits - a follow-up to 2014's The LEGO Movie, but one with perhaps even more appeal to families that embrace the desire for adventure. Like it's predecessor, our kids have had a desire to take the film with them, and that's something we've seen from the start. When General Motors showed off the Chevrolet version of The LEGO Movie Batmobile at The Chicago Auto Show back in February, my oldest daughter was right there rockin' her LEGO Batman backpack. When a LEGO Batgirl costume popped up at Walmart - the girls had to have it. And by summer, the movie was available on Digital HD, and the girls insisted that it be added to the iPad for the road. In fact, on our June trip to the lake house in Wisconsin, we traveled with a LEGO Batman pack. 

When you think about backpacks for kids, generally the back-to-school season is the first thing that comes to mind - but there's many different applications and occasions where a proper sack can come in handy. In some cases, a full-size backpack can be too much, and that's where the Gym Rucksack by Beckmann of Norway can come in handy. Rugged, yet adorable designs are both functional and stylish, and they appeal to kids of many interests. The folks at Beckmann USA (an authorized reseller) recently approached me about checking out some of their products, and my eyes immediately zeroed-in on just the right bag: a Gym Rucksack in "Mint Alva," the perfect new dance/ballet bag.

Published in Fashion

PJ MasksIt's time to be a hero! If your little ones are fans of PJ Masks (airing daily on Disney Junior here in the 'States), chances are you know that phrase well - kids by day, superheroes by night! For the past year, kids have been enjoying the adventures of Catboy, Owlette and Gekko, and this Fall they can really start to live the adventures in an all-new assortment of officially-licensed apparel and accessories that's just arrived in time for Back-to-School. Fashions for boys and girls, including hoodies, t-shirts, pajamas, backpacks, lunch kits and more have arrived at Kohl'sTarget and Toys "R" Us.

Published in Fashion

This Back-to-School feature is brought to you in partnership with Costco and General Mills #CostcoBoxTops 

Like so many, I'd seen those Box Tops for Education tabs on product packaging for years, never realizing what a big deal they were until my wife and I actually had kids in school ourselves. For the past 20 years, General Mills has been supporting education and America's schools through a very simple program: Clip the box tops from specially-marked products, submit them to your child's school (or a school you support), and each will be counted as 10¢, with participating schools able to earn up to $20,000 cash per year (no maximum annual earning limits for schools earning eBoxTops or Bonus Box Tops) to use on important supplies. This year, Costco is making it even easier to rack-up the Box Tops fast, by creating specially-marked packages that come with 8 additional Box Tops plus a code that can be redeemed at CostcoBoxTops.com for a shot at winning the Golden Box Tops Challenge and scoring one of 3,000 Box Tops Prize Packs - each containing 100 eBoxTops... that's $10 for your school, and all the earnings come from products you were already going to buy anyway. It's a win-win for all, and it's easy!

Published in Food and Drink
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