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It's been a long-running controversy... why Kinder Surprise Eggs are available just about anywhere but the U.S. Officially, it's been a safety issue, one even referenced in a recent gun control ad that points out the candy is banned, while certain assault rifles are not. These chocolate eggs, each packed with a toy surprise inside, have been confiscated by customs for years, but now the Kinder brand is finally coming to the U.S. in a legal manner. Ferrero U.S.A, Inc., the company known for famous brands such as Ferrero Rocher®, Nutella® and Tic Tac®, is now launching Kinder Joy® – touted as "a unique treat made especially for kids with parents in mind." Differing from their overseas counterparts, Kinder Joy is a plastic egg-shaped package that is comprised of two separately sealed halves. One half contains candy, the other a toy.

Friday, September 29 2017 11:26

Straight from the Patch: ROGUE Pumpkin Patch Ale

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As many of you are no doubt aware, I have a serious pumpkin obsession. An October child raised in Northern Illinois (#1 grower of pumpkins), for me "Fall" begins on August 15 (part of The Rock Father™ Seasonal Calendar). With that comes a real affection for seasonal beers, and fall brings a host of flavors, but my favorites are always those that are pumpkin-infused. Today, I received some news out of Oregon - that a fresh batch of ROGUE Pumpkin Patch Ale has been produced. A perfect accompaniment to pumpkin spice cookies, pumpkin lattés, pumpkin bread, pumpkin butter and just about everything pumpkin, one big factor with ROGUE is that they grow their own pumpkins and release their beer a little later than some. Here's how they explain it...

Country music artist Chris Young has teamed up with Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® to produce a five-part docu-series, "Chris Young Losing Sleep Cracker Barrel Series," which is the first of its kind for the brand. The five-part docu-series features weekly episodes taking fans on a behind-the-scenes journey as Chris writes, records and performs his songs, and touches on how Cracker Barrel has continued to be his home-away-from-home along the journey. Fans can watch the series, which debuts Sept. 28 and runs weekly through Nov. 2, on Cracker Barrel's YouTube channel.

After selling more than 15 million pints of TROOPER since its launch in 2013, IRON MAIDEN and ROBINSONS BREWERY kept things moving with the limited edition TROOPER 666  and RED 'N' BLACK beers (all of which I still have in my office fridge here at Rock Father HQ!). Now comes word that their fourth brew is on the way this fall, and it's a Belgian style beer: HALLOWED.

Presented in collaboration between The Rock Father™ and Folgers® Perfect MeasuresTM

While there's certain other cities that might be associated with coffee on a more immediate basis thanks to crafty marketing and perception, Chicago is definitively a coffee town, and now there's some stats to prove that. Having lived in the Chicagoland area for most of my life, but also having visited much of our country, I really don't need data to back up what I already know - but still, it's cool to have it. Coffee is in my blood, and that's something I've mentioned many times here on this very site, and I famously trace that back to my great grandfather, who worked as a coffee taster in Chicago nearly a century ago. Just like him, people here are always on a quest for the perfect cup, and when you drink a lot of coffee that also means a perfect pot.

Tuesday, June 20 2017 09:59

The Legend of the Lucky Charms

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Presented in collaboration between The Rock Father™ and General Mills #LuckyCharms

When it comes to the world of breakfast cereal, the halls of General Mills are legendary. Within the sacred confines of this breakfast behemoth lies secrets that children and families have been trying to unlock for decades (like where Sir Grapefellow and Yummy Mummy are hiding). Behind each door, a pathway opens to incredible new worlds inhabited by mythical creatures,iconic monsters and colorful characters each of whom have played a vital part in creating memorable breakfast experiences for generations.

Thursday, June 15 2017 00:00

Coffee & Rock: Ready to Roll for Father's Day

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This #ShouldBeOnACoffeeMug feature is brought to you in collaboration between The Rock Father, The J.M. Smucker Company and Life of Dad.

June is an important month around here, but it’s also a slightly weird one. Being that Father’s Day sits around the mid-month mark, that’s usually a signal for a huge influx of pitches I start getting from companies looking for some last-minute coverage in hopes of reaching families before the annual celebration of Fatherhood. Most of those don’t resonate with me, and some are fairly ridiculous -- many of them coming from folks I don’t hear from during the rest of the year. It’s almost like having a second birthday.  You see, I don’t need a “day” to celebrate what I am and always will be, but Father’s Day does hold some additional importance here - significance well-beyond selling greeting cards, novelty ties and coffee mugs (but remember that last one). I flipped the switch on this website on Father’s Day seven years ago. And our youngest daughter was born on Father’s Day weekend back in 2012. In life, there’s certain things that are ever-present, and for me, coffee is one of those things. Yes, coffee… and there’s familial importance. You could say that there’s “coffee in my blood,” but the more accurate a statement would be that it’s actually in my DNA. A close relationship with coffee has a lineage in my family, and that’s something that I’ve written about before. My great grandfather… my father’s grandfather, my grandmother’s father… he was a coffee taster by trade. My first name was his middle name.

This special feature is presented in collaboration between The Rock Father™, Cheerios and Life of Dad.

Parenting is a balancing act. It doesn’t matter whether your’re a dad or a mom, being responsible for the lives of little human beings can be a daunting task. It’s a gig that goes in waves and cycles, with each passing year, a flip of the calendar that simply shuffles the deck to bring in new challenges - just as the kids take on new activities. Here at Rock Father HQ, our balance includes a corporate gig for my wife (a 40-mile commute twice a day, five days a week), a weird schedule for me that now involves travel roughly once a month, and then balancing those responsibilities with our girls. Two school schedules - one in full-day, one in half-day - plus all the other things like ballet, gymnastics, swimming lessons, girl scouts, theatre camp… and whatever else might happen to plug itself into the mix. It sounds like a lot because it is - but we love it, and we make it work, but that deck is always stacked, and the right balance is key. When something gets out of whack (and it has… many times), the whole thing can come tumbling down for a reset. Just like a stack of wooden blocks… or a well-balanced stack of delicious Cheerios.

I'll fully admit to being a Craver - a loyal follower of the delicious sliders served-up at White Castle. Apparently there's some folks who are a lot more hardcore than I - and for more than a decade, there have been more than 75 "Craver weddings" held at various locations across the country. Now, White Castle is making it a bit more official, and they're launching their first national wedding contest to award one happy couple the ultimate Royal Wedding in Las Vegas and a luxurious five-night honeymoon in Belgium. Want to get married at White Castle in Las Vegas? If you're craving marriage, then this one is for you...

Friday, April 28 2017 23:13

There's a New MOTÖRHEAD Beer on the Way...

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A lot of bands both current and past have had beers brewed in their honor of late, and I've sort of developed an affection for those limited-edition drinks. In fact, I have some Megadeth and Iron Maiden beers just a few feet from me here in the office at Rock Father HQ as I type these words about the latest brew to be inspired by MOTÖRHEAD. It's not the first beer to be licensed by the band, but the first in a series from Amplified Ale Works. The MOTÖRHEAD Born to Lose IPA is described as "a boldly aggressive West Coast-style IPA, befitting of the band's loud, aggressive style."

Living in the suburbs of Chicago for most of my life (and making a slingshot from far south to far north), I'm still occasionally pleasantly surprised by finding great new areas to explore. Until this month, I had no idea what a vibrant scene could be found in Downtown Naperville, a city located about 30 miles west of Chicago, and about an hour south of Rock Father HQ. After dropping the girls off at Grandma's for the evening, my wife and I set out for an adventure - one anchored by dinner at The Craftsman by Two Brothers. I'd had a long-standing invitation* to check out what Two Brothers has been doing, not only at The Craftsman, but also at their Brewery and Tap House in Warrenville, but simply hadn't had a chance until now. From what we saw in Naperville, I can tell you that there's some impressive things afoot for foodies and beer lovers alike.

A baby food company wants you to get it on. Indeed, more of that can equal more mouths to feed in the long run, so it makes good business sense to encourage said activity. This is something I know well, as I've often joked to my wife that my entire current career path is completely based on the fact that we got it on at some point back in 2008, the end result being the birth of our first daughter in 2009, and thus, my being dubbed "The Rock Father." This site... these words... they wouldn't exist had it not been for my prowess, probably on a couch or something. Turns out, that's not completely the point of Plum Organics' Do Your Part(ner) campaign. Check this out...

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