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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...

Sunday, February 05 2017 20:35

Life Hack: Bonding with Children and Maximizing Time

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Presented in partnership with Life of Dad and Cheerios...

My wife and I talk about it often - time (specifically, lack thereof) being a big issue for us as parents. As kids, we heard grownups talk about "time flying," but until you're actually an adult and a parent yourself, you just don't realize it. From a scientific standpoint, time is the same - but there has to be a correlation between size and time. When you're a little kid, the days seem to go forever. When you're physically bigger, the days seem shorter. There's also a chance that I made that up, but time is most certainly an issue. We want to spend time with our kids - time that increases the bond between parent and child - and that means utilizing our superior time management skills to "get stuff done," while still being there for our kids. What I'm saying is that I'm not opposed to eating breakfast in the shower. I get to save time by watching the girls brush their teeth, while I get clean and save a step by doing it fully-clothed. Seriously, just watch the video...

I have always been an unapologetic meat-eater. I've heard all sides of the debate for and against, and I choose to remain carnivorous in nature. What many don't realize is that I'm the only true meat eater in our house. The Rock Daughters™ have never eaten beef, fish or pork. The exception is poultry (chicken/turkey), but the girls have never had a bite of the others, and it's because they've followed my wife. Similarly, filmmaker Kevin Smith has a daughter, Harley Quinn, who has also followed her mother's path - but to the full-blown vegan side of things. The folks at Farm Sanctuary sent over a video that features the duo discussing #CompassionateMeals, and I feel it's worth sharing. If anything, it is food for thought...

THE ROCK FATHER™ has partnered with Life of Dad and Idahoan® Foods for this promotion. Is he the #KingOfSoup? That’s for you to decide…

I have a long-standing mission to eat better, and make more food at home. Over the past few years, I’ve gotten a lot better at it, learning to cook as I go, firing up the grill even in winter, and making a constant attempt to bring that restaurant flavor to the kitchen at Rock Father HQ. When my wife and I used to go out on a more frequent basis (the pre-parenting era), I was a big fan of steakhouses. Actually, I still am - but the trick was always that my wife is a non-meat-eater. She loves the potato soup, though, and until recently, I couldn’t properly pull it off at home… but that just changed.

Wednesday, December 28 2016 22:31

Cooking-Up Memories with Pampered Chef Kids...

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This Rock Father Kitchen feature has been brought to you in partnership with Pampered Chef

As we close the book on 2016 and enter 2017, now is the perfect time to make a renewed commitment to cooking at home. Personally, I always avoid saying that anything is a "resolution," but I do like taking stock of things and refocusing for each new year. Eating at home is important, and like so many, we do stray the path, but always come back to teaching our children the joy and importance of making their own meals (and memories). The Kids' Cooking Set by Pampered Chef is a new addition to our kitchen, and one that embraces kids' seemingly natural love of two things: pizza and cookies. 

THE ROCK FATHER is a Folgers Preferred Partner...

When it comes to seasonal beverages, fall and winter tend to be my favorites, and coffee leads the charge. For the latter, nothing beats the warmth of a "Peppermint Mocha" during the holiday season, yet how exactly to make one is something of a debate. There's no shortage of recipes available for coffee drinks that have a dash of mint and chocolate, but most of them tend to be time-consuming, sometimes messy, and generally more complicated than they need to be. So what do I deem to be the Rock Father-approved way to bring a Christmas coffeehouse classic home for the holidays? After some trial and error in the kitchen here at Rock Father HQ, I'm going to share with you my recipe for the The Simplest Peppermint Mocha Recipe to Make at Home, and it starts with Folgers Coffeehouse Blend

Wednesday, December 07 2016 08:12

A BreakFEAST for the Ho-Ho-Holidays...

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Brought to you by Hungry Jack. THE ROCK FATHER is a proud Hungry Jack  Brand Ambassador.

Now that my favorite season is behind us (see ya next year, Fall!), we’re past the speed bump of Thanksgiving and racing full-steam-ahead toward the checkered flag that joyously waves upon the end of the Holiday season here at Rock Father HQ - Christmas. No matter what you choose or choose not to celebrate, the cold that December brings is always a great reminder of warm times spent with family - a chance to cozy up in the comforts of home, with great times and great meals. Around these parts, it’s no secret that breakfast is my favorite meal, and whether I cook for the family on a weekend morning, or break from tradition by doing mid-week breakfast-for-dinner, I try to make it a BreakFEAST by serving up Hungry Jack Pancakes and Waffles, but also letting everyone warm-up a bit with their favorite syrups.

THE ROCK FATHER is a Folgers Preferred Partner...

It's beginning to look a lot like... well, not quite either, but sort of an odd mix between Christmas and Thanksgiving around these parts. Let's be honest here, for me, Thanksgiving is more of a speed bump between the two main events of the year - Halloween and Christmas. It's a weird space since it's technically still fall/harvest, but here we are in mid-November and I've already packed-away the scarecrow for the season, composted the pumpkins and cornstalks, and have been taking advantage of the "unseasonably warm" temperatures by doing a little early-season "Griswolding" at Rock Father HQ.  Indeed, while they're not on yet, some festive lights have been installed on the grounds - my coffee-fueled antics amusing the children as I try do do as much as I can within limited daylight hours. It was dark by 4:50pm today, and by then, I'd already consumed nearly a full pot of Folgers.

Wednesday, November 02 2016 21:48

Hi-C Ecto Cooler is Dead Again...

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Just yesterday, I restocked my NewAir office fridge with some staple beverages from the 1990s and now. Surge, Crystal Pepsi, and Hi-C Ecto Cooler led the charge, with Diet Mountain Dew (still my favorite), some Mountain Dew Game Fuel (both Citrus Cherry and Mango Heat) along with a few bottles of Robinson's Iron Maiden Trooper 666 beer. Of all of those beverages, the first three are strangely-returned from the grave, and the Ecto Cooler has been the crown jewel since May. Notoriously hard-to-find after the Coca-Cola Company brought it back after a decade+ hiatus thanks to a new Ghostbusters movie (one I loved), it would pop-up at local grocers like Mariano's and Meijer in miniature juice boxes, with 12oz cans available exclusively though Amazon. I wrote about the delicious beverage back in July, and now comes news that it's a dead product once again. 

As we head into the last weekend before Halloween, families in the Chicago area that are looking for some not-so-scary, but definitely fun-filled adventure should head out to Brookfield Zoo for the return of the annual Boo! at the Zoo. Presented by Chicago's own Ferrara Candy Company, Boo! at the Zoo kicked off this past weekend, and will showcase fun events from 10am-4pm on October 29 & 30, 2016. Sharing the goodness with the local community, the folks at Ferrara have donated more than 10,000 pounds of candy, and have provided more than 300 volunteers to aid the Brookfield Zoo staff in making this spooktacular event a memorable one, with trick-or-treat stations located throughout the zoo, and plenty of fun photo opps as well! But that's not all...

Friday, October 14 2016 13:21

Coffee & Rock: Folgers Coffeehouse Blend

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THE ROCK FATHER is a Folgers Preferred Partner...

During my adventures in rock, there have been some "coffeehouse" eras - two in particular that really stick with me. In the mid 1990s, I was in a band that was known to play indie coffeehouses on a frequent basis - this being an era where we could plug-in and go full-blown electric and have it be a non-issue - a time before the major rise of the national chains. Some years later, in the early 2000s, I once again found myself doing the occasional coffeehouse gig, but this time it was more in-line with what you might think of - a lone guy rockin' an acoustic guitar while doing the singer/songwriter thing. Through all those years and those that have come since, one common thread is that all of those places had a house blend, and I drank a lot of it. Now, in my years as an at-home parent, one of the first things I do every morning is brew a cup of Folgers, and their new Coffeehouse Blend has really taken me back... but with a lot more options.

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