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On January 1 of this year, I launched the 2014 Fitness Challenge here on THE ROCK FATHER. After years of leading a lifestyle that wasn't exactly great for my body, I started a gradual change three years ago when I quit smoking, and this year the time finally came to really start leading a healthy lifestyle. I've changed my diet, count calories, and now hit the gym 4-5 nights per week. One important change has been making sure not to skip breakfast (which I have a habit of forgetting to eat), and in doing so, I've rekindled my love of cereal - something that started last Fall when I first mentioned trying Silk Almondmilk after not drinking any kind of milk since 1989. Recently, the folks at Silk got in touch about their new Silk Almondmilk Blends - and one of them fit right into my routine: Protein + Fiber. Can Almondmilk rock? I say "YES!"

G.J JOE or COBRA? Autobots or Decepticons? Coke or Pepsi? Angels or Demons? Empire or Rebellion? Throughout the course of time and mankind, there have many been epic battles that have raged on and become the subject of infinite debate. Is there a "right" or "wrong" answer? Probably not, but whichever you prefer will ultimately become your "right," and besides - everyone knows that COBRA rules. Last week, however, I dropped myself smack-dab in the middle of two longtime rivals, PAT'S KING OF STEAKS and GENO'S STEAKS - both located directly across from one another in South Philadelphia. You see, I dig a good "Philly Cheesesteak" - but I'm from Chicago, and up until now, I'd never had the chance to take the cheesesteak challenge for a legit Philly Cheesesteak. While this doesn't really fall inline with my fitness challenge, I made an exception (and hit the hotel gym later) to choose my side.

Independence Day... The 4th of July... Americans dig their celebrations, and along with it, the grownups in the crowd do enjoy a tasty beverage on occasion, myself included... from time to time. I've featured a few brews here on THE ROCK FATHER in the past, and while I've covered beer and wine, I don't think I've ever covered whiskey in the past, but that changes today with some news that landed here at Rock Father HQ about AMERICAN BORN MOONSHINE. See, as a kid - my knowledge of runnin' moonshine came courtesy of the Duke boys - yep, THE DUKES OF HAZZARD - who were known to toss some of Uncle Jesse's signature recipe in the trunk of their bright orange Dodge Charger, and proceed to run from the law a bit. So why AMERICAN BORN MOONSHINE now? Because the makers officially enter California today... the 4th of July... and they've got a massive event schedule spread across the State.

Last Fall, I had the opportunity to visit one of my favorite companies, when I took a trip to Orrville, Ohio and spent a few days at Smucker's HQ. The folks at The J.M. Smucker Company have been producing some great things over the years, and for me, the down-home goodness just rings pure Americana when I think of it. Last week, Smucker's unveiled their new Smucker's Fruit-Fulls by turning the Flatiron District of New York City into a full-blown apple orchard, and to kick things off in-style, they brought along a familiar face when it comes to their brand - Willard Scott, the iconic weatherman and birthday well-wisher from NBC's TODAY Show. Did you know that Willard is down with THE ROCK FATHER? Take a peek at the Instagram video below...

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Weave Made Media® and Klondike, but all my opinions are that of THE ROCK FATHER. #weavemade #KandyBar #ad http://my-disclosur.es/RgFrEH

We're four days into summer, and what I can tell you without hesitation is that our schedule here is hectic. Our days start at 7am, and Addie is in the midst of a two-week, half-day "Broadway Beginners" Theatre Camp five days a week, during which Little Finley and I have some one-on-one time until we have to go get big sister. Then, we spend most of the day playing hard - but three nights a week, we have Pee Wee Baseball. Guess who's coaching the team? Yep, this guy. Factor in all the on-the-fly adventures we get into, and by the mid-evening, everyone is beat. The girls are.... I am... and my wife sure is by the time she gets home. To cap off a good day, there's sort of a rule that if the girls are really good all day, they can have dessert - a "Sometimes Treat," as we tend to call it (something I've touched on here before) - but not every night, hence "sometimes." The kids love ice cream... and they love candy... so when I came across the new Klondike Kandy Bars at the local Jewel store, I snagged some as a surprise for the right moment.

Last month, I revealed the limited-edition TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION BIG RED cans right here on THE ROCK FATHER. Now, with the release of the latest installment of the Michael Bay-directed franchise hitting theaters this Friday, the folks at BIG RED Soda are asking "How Will YOU Prepare?" There's a guy in the video that waxes a Decepticon symbol into his chest hair... that doesn't seem like a bad idea.

Chef Mario Batali is leading the charge to #86AIDS this month, marking 33 years since the deadly disease was discovered. As part of (RED)'s EAT (RED). DRINK (RED). SAVE LIVES campaign, Chef Mario Batali and Omaze.com are offering one lucky foodie the chance to see their culinary dreams come true - and making the contest truly sweet is that each ticket entry helps fight AIDS and save lives.  Each $10 entry ticket helps provide HIV+ pregnant women access to the lifesaving medication they heed to ensure that their children are born HIV free. Check out Mario's pitch below - and then hear what U2's Bono has added to the mix...

THE ROCK FATHER a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for #CollectiveBias and its advertiser. #EatMoreBites

#EatMoreBites

I can be sort of a "party pooper" when it comes to snacking and my girls - always trying to find that right balance and not over-do things. When it comes to things like candy, I'm a big fan of the "sometimes" treat - a little something special that we can enjoy from time to time, and in moderation (pretty much anything is good in moderation). Personally, I like chocolate - a lot - but I don't really do the full bar thing anymore, though I still find myself craving the unmistakable taste of TWIX, SNICKERS and 3 MUSKETEERS. Now, with the release of TWIX Bites I've got a new "sometimes" treat for the girls, and one that Dad digs, too.

Earlier this month, I entered a new phase of parenting when my oldest daughter, Addie, began T-ball prep. I posted a journal entry here on THE ROCK FATHER, a fitting start to a new world of exploration and growth for the little one, and a whole new experience for my wife and I as parents. Last night, T-ball prep wrapped-up, and in June, Addie will become just one of a handful of girls joining the boys for Pee-Wee Baseball. Real practices. Real games. Prepping my children for games is something that I've never done before, so I've been on the hunt for tips - tips that I could turn around and share with you. Teaming-up with my friends at Dole and Mom it Forward, I'm helping to spread the word on how to get kids to be #GameDayGreat, with healthy snacks like DOLE Fruit Squish’ems, and with Game Day advice from two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup winner and mom, Brandi Chastain and the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO).

With Michael Bay's TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION headed for theaters next month via Paramount Pictures (one of my personal must-sees of the summer), fans of the heroic Autobots and evil Decepticons have been hungry - or thirsty - for more Cybertronian goodness. While the Hasbro toys have just rolled out over the past couple of weeks, TRANSFORMERS will begin invading the beverage aisles of your local stores through an unlikely partner - BIG RED. The makers of America's first (and still bestselling) red soda just hit THE ROCK FATHER with details on a series of limited-edition cans, along with your chance to win TRANSFORMERS swag through their $25,000 sweepstakes.

Last Fall, HANSON released their Mmmhops Pale Ale as the inaugural release from their Hanson Brothers Brewing Company, but for those wishing to get a sip of that tasty beverage, the options were limited - with it only being available in their home state of Oklahoma, or in select Midwestern markets. Today, that changes, as Mmmmhops is now available online, and the launch comes complete with a rockin' commercial. Check it out below...

Logo - VIA 300x326Doing anything this Friday, May 9 at lunchtime? THE ROCK FATHER will be Co-Hosting the Starbucks #LatteRomeo Twitter Party, along with Life of Dad, Daddy Mojo, Dad or Alive and the NYC Dads Group. The action gets started at 1pm ET (or noon Rock Father HQ time), and we've got Visa Gift Cards to dish out, just in time for Mother's Day as we give you the scoop on Starbucks VIA Latte! Be sure to follow all of us, and tag #LatteRomeo and #StarbucksVIA to take part! Additionally, you can enter the #LatteRomeo Mother's Day Video Contest for more chances to win!

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