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Since Addie officially went "Back-to-School" today, this is probably the last food-related post I'll do for my inaugural BTS season. While we've been very fortunate to have a pair of healthy kids with no allergies thus far, studies show that 1 in 13 kids suffers from a food allergy. Because of this, we're always mindful of the snacks that are around when groups of kids are present. For parents looking for some special treats for special dietary needs, Lucy's might be exactly what you're after. Her Cookies and Brownies are All-Natural, Gluten-Free, Vegan, and Allergy-Friendly with no peanuts or tree nuts, milk or eggs. In addition, everything is crafted in a dedicated bakery.

In doing my first-ever round of Back-to-School coverage this year on The Rock Father, I started running across some things that were new to me overall... some of which I wasn't even aware of until they showed up at my door. One example: Funley's Delicious. An assortment of SUPER CRACKERS and WHOLLY GRANOLLY CLUSTERS arrived here for review consideration, and to say that they were a hit is an understatement... they were gobbled up by kids and grownups alike, sending this Dad and some fellow parents on a hunt for more. 

Fall is my favorite season of all. I've always figured it was because I was born in October - a Halloween baby of sorts - but my pumpkin-obsession is powerful. Each Fall since starting The Rock Father in 2011, I have posted something about the return of Pumpkin Spice Latte to Starbucks. No, these are not sponsored posts (though I did recently do a campaign with Starbucks)... I just really, really, really, really like Pumpkin Spice Latte. And just about everything else pumpkin-related, too. In fact, I put a Glade Pumpkin air freshener in my office almost a month ago. It's just part of the season that I love so much, and now I get to share the joy of the season with my daughters. Pumpkin Spice Latte returned to Starbucks for 2013 last week, and today I acquired my first taste of Fall... 

While it's the unofficial end-of-summer this weekend and the temperatures are still reaching nearly 100 degrees here at Rock Father HQ, both of my girls - at 4 and 14 months - have been loving their icy treats. One new addition to our Ice Box Arsenal (Rock Father slang for "the freezer") has been RUBY'S ROCKETS Frozen Fruit & Vegetable Pops. Since summer is ending and Addie goes Back to School this week, I'm thinking that Ruby's Rockets are a perfect after-school treat, and here's why...

It should be absolutely no surprise to anyone at this point that Coffee is an essential ingredient of my day here at Rock Father HQ. With that in mind, the folks at Life of Dad and Starbucks asked me to show off a Starbucks VIA Moment on Instagram (Hey! I'm new there, give me a follow!), and that's what I did. Roughly 10 seconds of life as a Work-at-Home Dad with a mischievous 4-year-old slapping the camera away, and an angry 14-month-old crying and screaming at me. Yes, that's just one example of a Starbucks VIA Moment (along with rockin' into the wee hours) when a quick cup of coffee is required. Watch mine below, then share yours for a chance to win some fantastic prizes!

Every Fall since 2008, I have written about my love for the General Mills Monster Cereals. No matter where those words have been penned, I have always included one, simple request for General Mills... a request that I included last September, right here on The Rock Father: Bring back the "Retro" Boxes.  I'm a Monster Cereal fiend... so much so that I still have a dwindling private stash from last year, and when I tweeted about that stash while munching some BOO-BERRY back on August 5, this happened... 

If you're reading this, you already know that I'm a busy, work-at-home Dad with two little girls. That said, I'm often squeezed when it comes to lunchtime around here. I don't necessarily eat "well" all the time, and after getting lunch prepped for the little ones, it's often Daddy that ends up scrounging. Well, the crew over at Velveeta found a new way to bring their classic blend of Liquid Gold into a new category - with easy, heat-and-eat Velveeta Cheesy Skillets Singles. 60-seconds in the microwave and done. It's a quick meal that The Rock Father can break out in-between making peanut butter sandwiches and feeding babies.

"Why Can't I Get My Oldest Daughter to Eat Pizza?" This is a question that haunts and baffles me as a parent. I've long held that Pizza is the perfect food - a dish that can include all the possible food groups in one, tasty, disc. I can't get Addie to try it, and that saddens me. I mean, she wants to go to Chuck E. Cheese's, but won't touch the pizza. Regardless, The Rock Father is a Pizza Snob... or maybe a Pizza Gangster. Not quite like Pizza the Hutt in Mel Brooks' SPACEBALLS, but I know what I like. It's probably partially due to my Chicago-area upbringing, but I'm pretty discriminating in my pizza preferences, and that means discounting even some of Chicago's "famous" places as being overrated and not that good. I take the battle to the frozen food aisle as well.

Earlier this week, I did a post about 10 Cool Lunch Boxes for Kids. What I didn't touch on then was what to pack in those lunch boxes, and with Back to School season in full-effect, the folks from Annie's, HONEST Kids, Organic Valley, and Stonyfield (all of which have some representation in our fridge & pantry) have stepped-in with an appropriately-named movement called ROCK THE LUNCH BOX. Data shows some interesting numbers when it comes to lunches, and it's something I'm paying attention to - especially since I have one extremely picky eater here at Rock Father HQ. Take a look at the infographic below for some stats... 

Monday, July 29 2013 12:20

Back to School: 10 Cool Lunch Boxes for Kids

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Back to School. I do believe that this is the very first Back to School post that I've ever done on The Rock Father. While we didn't have a real "break" since we kept her in activities this summer at the same place... with the same teachers... and mostly the same class... our oldest will be Back to Preschool this Fall, and that got me thinking about one of the coolest aspects of the season: New supplies. That said, I'd been looking at lunch boxes (and totes and bags) and decided to compile some of my favorites here on the site. Take a peek at the list below. I've even given you some rock to listen to while browsing...

I need to buy a grill. Even though I won't need one for the coming Fourth of July Weekend, that's what I'm thinking as I type this post right now. There is currently no grill here at Rock Father HQ, as my last gas grill was in need of replacement and ended up being snagged by a scrapper from the curb before the garbage man even got to it. That said, I have done zero grilling in 2013, and that needs to change. Why am I thinking grilling right now? Well, it's because Julianna and Natasha over at Yahoo!'s Cinema & Spice recently whipped-up some recipes inspired by THE LONE RANGER (out July 3 via Walt Disney Pictures), and I just finally opened the email that contained them. Is it wrong that when I hear "Hi-Ho Silver, Away!", I think of THE OAK RIDGE BOYS, and not THE LONE RANGER? Let's see what grilling goodness they've cooked-up... 

Disney's MONSTERS UNIVERSITY has arrived on movie screens this weekend, and while we haven't seen it yet, we're certainly not immune to the media infiltration by Sully and Mike Wazowski. A prime example? The ladies over at Yahoo!'s Cinema & Spice whipped up some MONSTERS UNIVERSITY-inspired recipes that keep the "college" theme in mind... and then emailed them to Rock Father HQ so I could share them with you. Check 'em out below...

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