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The Toy InsiderAs of this writing, we're closer to May than April and it's currently snowing where I sit here in Illinois. From what I've heard, it's not much better for my friends on the east coast, like my colleagues at The Toy Insider who've just launched their 2018 Spring & Summer Gift Guide. Technically, it's spring, and here at Rock Father™ HQ we have some of the items featured in The Toy Insider Gift Guide... we just haven't had the proper weather to use them just yet. Never separated by gender, the Toy Insider’s gift guide is broken down by age group and play category - with each category featuring a variety of products across a wide range of price points. Check out the links and details below!

 This #EurekaPower Holiday Adventure has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. THE ROCK FATHER is well-versed in mess-making and evidence removal.

Electrolux Realtree Xtra Camo Vac

'Tis the Season to be Messy...

When the tree goes up here at Rock Father HQ each November, I take it as a glowing signal that the season of finding tree needles has begun. That season lasts the next eleven months, of course, and said needles seemingly appear out of nowhere, sometimes immediately after clean-up has taken place, and in odd locations at random intervals. The mix of the artificial (we have two trees up and some garland on the rails) and the natural (wreath on the front door, evergreen around the porch) can be a tricky task to handle, and it's all thrown into a time when additional messes from the culinary and crafting adventures are also on the rise. Thankfully, this year I've been able to add a new tool to my mess-eliminating arsenal with my new Electrolux Ergorapido Limited Edition Realtree Xtra Camo, Cordless 2-in-1 Stick and Handheld Vacuum. Yes, it's a Camo-covered vacuum, so it falls into that "Camo fetish" that I've mentioned in at least nine different articles on this very site, but I digress.

With just a few weeks left until Christmas, the window of time to search for that perfect gift is getting smaller and smaller. For those that have a gamer to buy for, there's some great options that I've featured here on the site over the past year - big hits like Disney Infinity 2.0 and CALL OF DUTY: ADVANCED WARFARE. But those are just the tip of the iceberg, and when it comes to gaming, your local GameStop store has a ton of great deals and new releases for every member of the family, from "big" gifts like a new XBOX One or Playstation 4, to stocking stuffers like the latest figures from Skylanders Trap Team. Now, GameStop and THE ROCK FATHER have teamed-up to highlight some great picks from the GameStop Holiday Hub in this Gaming Special Edition entry into my 2014 Holiday Wish Guide!

Holiday 2014I had a very "Christmas morning" type of moment here at Rock Father HQ not long ago, a priceless moment, yet one that comes with the unique position of running this website - I'm always afraid of messing up the timing with my little ones, if only because the stuff I write about can come seasonally ahead-of-schedule. Just a couple of weeks ago, I featured the Collector's Edition Hess Toy Truck (which is now sold out and going for insane prices on eBay) in my 2014 Holiday Wish Guide, a special entry into the long-running series of Hess Toy Trucks that I'd written about in the past, but always had to admire from afar since they were previously an "East Coast" tradition. But that wasn't the only truck that the Hess Corporation released this year, but a companion to the 2014 50th Anniversary Hess Toy Truck and Space Cruiser with Scout a three-in-one toy that was just released for this Holiday season. Wouldn't you know, a rectangular box, neatly enveloped in Hess green wrapping paper arrived here at our home, and I gave it to Little Finley to open. Her reaction was beyond adorable.

Holiday 2014It seemed like it was a slow-go at launch, but after being on the shelves for over a year now, Mattel's Monster High spin-off Ever After High has become a pretty big hit on it's own. With the dolls a hot item this Holiday season, role-play is catching on as well and the Ever After High Magic Mirror by Cartwheel Kids is the centerpiece item for any child's Ever After High collection. This talking mirror features lights and sounds, and comes packed with makeup tucked-away into "hidden" compartments for easy storage. Similar to the action of a Magic 8 Ball, kids can ask the mirror a question and then await a response. Royal or Rebel? That's for fate to decide, but fairytale dreams can certainly be enhanced by the destiny-revealing Ever After High Magic Mirror.

Holiday 2014"How many radio controlled cars do you need?" That's a question posited by my wife not long ago, and one I can only answer with "as many as possible!" After all, they're "for the kids," right? Well, what I enjoy is innovation, and from Jada Toys comes the new line of HyperChargers RC vehicles, and they're definitely work a look. See, these things are not only fun and fast, but attack the problem of mass battery consumption though a novel approach - USB charging. While the controller still needs standard batteries, the cars themselves will never succumb to being the battery hogs that we're all used to. Aside from single cars and trucks, Jada has released a pair of "Heat" Chase Twin Packs that put a pair of cars against each other for under $40. Having checked out the HyperChargers Ford Mustang Boss 308 Police Car vs. the Chevrolet Camaro SS here at Rock Father HQ, I can confidently include these in my 2014 Holiday Wish Guide.

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