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It's been a very long time since I've had the chance to play with a "water blaster," so when the folks at NERF asked if I'd be up for checking out a new Super Soaker here at Rock Father HQ, I immediately accepted. What soon arrived was the new NERF ARCTIC SHOCK WATER BLASTER - a powerful soaker with the ability to put the freeze into full effect. And I became the target.

Last month, when I was down in Miami for the PBS Annual Meeting, the folks from Hasbro beamed an assortment of their new STAR TREK KRE-O sets to Rock Father HQ back in Illinois. For the few days that I was out-of-town, and a few days after I got back... a white crate with the familiar "STAR TREK" logo was sitting in my office, taunting my oldest daughter, Addie - who just couldn't wait to dig in. I never expected it to happen so early, but Addie and I also had to have the talk...

A few weeks back, the folks at Hasbro asked if we'd like to check out some new offerings from their ANGRY BIRDS STAR WARS line here in the state-of-the-art Toy Testing Facility at Rock Father HQ. Being quite the STAR WARS fan, there was no way to refuse the request of The Empire. A few days later, an Imperial Courier arrived at HQ in a large, brown speeder. His package? A box loaded with fresh toys and games to check out.

Let me make something very clear: The "Action Toy" aisle of your local retailer is not "the boys' aisle." Action figures are for everyone... just like superheroes... comic books... and a vast assortment of other things that often get assigned a gender by default. I've said it before and I'll say it again - kids should be able to like what they like, and be encouraged to explore whatever interests happen to catch their little eyes. My oldest daughter is pretty well-rounded. She's got quite the assortment of dolls and princess paraphernalia, but as documented here on The Rock Father, she also has a serious obsession with cars, and she digs superheroes. That said, she was pretty excited when a package from STARK INDUSTRIES (via Hasbro) arrived here at Rock Father HQ loaded with a sampling of new toys from IRON MAN 3. What was not exciting for me was watching her preschool teacher compliment all the girls on their dresses the other day, and then make a weird and silent pause when she looked at Addie's MARVEL Comics t-shirt (which she's been wearing on occasion for months). Hence the opening statement of this post.

As a 2013 Step2 Test Drive Blogger, we periodically get to check out some new toys from Step2 here at The Rock Father's state-of-art Toy Testing Facility. Usually, that's the family room or kitchen, but in the case of the Step2 Fun & Sun Climber and Sandbox - that should mean our yard. Unfortunately, Spring 2013 hasn't really been very "spring-y" here in Northern Illinois. In fact, as I type this post, it's pouring rain outside with the threat of it changing back over to snow... on April 11... even though it was 72 yesterday. With two little ones here in the house, there was no way to keep this thing under wraps, so for the past month, the Fun & Sun Climber and Sandbox has been set-up in our family room. Addie and Finley love it.

When TRANSFORMERS PRIME returned to The Hub for it's third season last week, The Autobots were slapped with the return of an evil force that was brought back from extinction thanks to Shockwave's tinkering in his Decepticon Lab. There, in very JURASSIC PARK fashion, Shockwave used fossilized CNA (Transformers' DNA) to clone one of the great Cybertonian Beasts that once ruled the metallic landscape of the Transformers' home planet. The mighty PREDAKING was quickly sent by his new masters to hunt down and destroy any Autobot that should cross his path. As a kid that grew up on the G1 TRANSFORMERS of the 1980s, I love exposing my little ones to the world of things that are "More Than Meets the Eye," so I was thrilled when the folks from HASBRO had one of their new "Voyager Class" Predaking figures delivered to Rock Father HQ.

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