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Insect Lore makes some fantastic kits for kids to learn about and grow their favorite insects, and now they're teaming up with the World of Eric Carle! For the first time ever, Insect Lore is combining their revolutionary habitat kits with the iconic art of World of Eric Carle for a kaleidoscope of unforgettable experiences through live lifecycle projects. We've done several Insect Lore kits here at Rock Father HQ, so I can tell you that we have some first-hand experience with these and I highly recommend them.

This Incredibles 2 special feature is presented in collaboration between Clorox and The Rock Father™ #CloroxIncrediblyClean

Last summer, I found myself in Anaheim, California during one of the incredible adventures that I sometimes get to have as part of my work. Since our first daughter was born in 2009, I have largely been an “at-home dad,” shifting many of my powers toward domestic duties while my wife maintains a career outside the home. There are occasions, however, where I spring into action for a special mission, usually hopping on a plane and leaving our Third Coast home en route to the East or West Coast (mostly West). For the D23 Expo in Anaheim, I was working with Disney and wound up there in the room when a select audience got to see the very first footage from Disney•Pixar’s The Incredibles 2. Later, I called my wife in Illinois and told her that what I saw was like watching our lives unfold on-screen… maybe sans the laser vision, but definitely the messes. Oh yes, those incredible messes!

When it comes to enjoying life outdoors, there's nothing that I enjoy more than gardening. If I had the time, I'd work on our garden and landscape all the time - and while that's not possible, I do try to spend as much time out there as I can, and I love to involve our girls - The Rock Daughters™ - wherever possible. Adding color to the landscape is a fun thing to do, especially when you work with perennials and bulbs that will return year after year. Not only will you have some cool colors that bloom throughout each year, but it can be a savings in cost and labor as well. For summer, lilies are some of the best bulbs around, and that's why the folks at Bulb.com have named the lily 2018's "Summer Bulb of the Year." The girls and I just planted 25 of them...

Just because your chickens live in a coop doesn’t mean they – and more likely – you, can’t appreciate a few touch ups. Backyard chicken keeping expert Lisa Steele has been sprucing up her coop creating Pinterest-worthy DIY touches you’ll want to copy for your own feathered friends’ humble adobe. Her books (available through Amazon - an affiliate of The Rock Father™ Magazine) and website have been a constant source of inspiration for flock masters everywhere, and this fall that library grows with the release of 101 Chicken Keeping Hacks, due out in September. Here's just a few ideas for a Pinterest-worthy coop...

Although it's still too cold for my liking here in Illinois, it's spring, and that means that it's time to start thinking about gardening... and our insect friends. There's a lot of helpful bugs that inhabit the landscape, and for years the folks at Insect Lore have been helping kids learn all about the life cycle of butterflies, praying mantises, ladybugs and ants. We've raised butterflies here at Rock Father HQ in the past, and right now I've got a praying mantis egg and some youthful ladybugs hanging out with me in my office. This Friday, April 6, 2018 - you're invited to join The Toy Insider, Insect Lore and The Rock Father™ for a fun-filled Twitter Party in which we'll be showing off all of the fun kits from Insect Lore while giving YOU a chance to win! You must RSVP to play along! Check out the video below to learn more...

Ready for a Chia PREDATOR? While we don't know if that will be a thing, a surprising announcement arrived just before the start of New York Toy Fair this weekend - National Entertainment Collectibles Association (NECA) has acquired the company behind Chia Pet and The Clapper. NECA has taken control of both Joseph Enterprises, Inc. (JEI) and Joseph Pedott Advertising and Marketing, Inc. (JPAM), which join the NECA family of specialty entertainment companies. NECA promises that these are  "poised for cross-company collaboration."

As I type these words, we're in the middle of the biggest snow of the season here in Northern Illinois - another 6" having fallen overnight. Prior to the proper winter season, the last thing we finished outside was the construction of a massive new deck here at Rock Father HQ... but we finished in November, no time to enjoy it last season. Now, looking ahead to warmer temperatures for 2018, it's window-shopping season, and the folks at Char-Broil have just launched a new collection that's caught my eye - a new outdoor modular kitchen, available at Lowes. Outdoor kitchens have been a growing trend these past few years, but they've also been cost-prohibitive for a lot of families. Now, Char-Broil has brought the concept into reach for a much wider audience. Available now, the Modular Outdoor Kitchen includes the 5-Burner TRU-Infrared™ Gas Grill, the Outdoor Stove Top, Refrigerator, and more. Check out a preview...

We've been fans of Playmonster's My Fairy Garden collection since we first discovered them a year or so ago. Having placed a fairy garden outside as part of our landscape every year, The Rock Daughters™ always have a habit of playing with the statues out there, and they're not really made for that since they're not toys. My Fairy Garden solves that problem by providing a real garden environment that kids can play with inside. Each kit comes with everything you need to build and grown the perfect spot for your fairy figures, and there's always room to expand, with a wide array of accessories and additional fairies available. Our original garden, the Magical Cottage, is still going strong, and this fall we added a new one to the mix - the Bean Blossom.

Wednesday, September 20 2017 23:59

Buyer's Remorse: Samsung Activewash Washer & Dryer

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Writing about consumer products is a large part of what I do here at THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. My opinions are always 100% honest and straightforward, and when something isn't right - I let people know about it. Whether I receive free product for review or pay for it myself, the standards are the same because bad products hurt consumers. I don't like seeing people being taken advantage of, and I'm certainly not going to put up with that myself. American families work hard for their money, and my wife and I are a prime example of that. What's very concerning is how short a lifespan many of our high-dollar purchases have, and frankly, I'm tired of being fleeced. Today I'm going to tell you about the worst purchase I've made in the last year or so - a heavily-advertised (remember those commercials with Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell?) Samsung Activewash Washer and Dryer Pair from Best Buy. Our "new" washer and dryer are essentially junk - products whose performance has defeated the reason they were purchased in the first place. It started with that infamous Samsung recall...

When we bought our home seven years ago, the property came with a shed. It was cumbersome, improperly installed and just plain yucky. Eventually, it became clear that it was in such bad shape, I feared that it might fall on the kids, and because of that I went all INCREDIBLE HULK and knocked the thing down myself. In place of the shed, we put some of our kids' outdoor toys in that spot, but approaching this year we knew it was time for a new shed. Backyard Discovery has long-been known for their excellent sheds, swingsets and playhouses, and thanks to their recent merger with The Step2 Company (long-time friends of mine), I had a chance to go hands-on with one of their new Ready Sheds - sent to Rock Father HQ™ for review. While I think I'm pretty solid when it comes to gardening and landscaping, construction and carpentry are pretty foreign to me. With the Ready Shed, Backyard Discovery has created a do-it-yourself shed kit that they say can be completed with one hammer, one drill, one person and in one day. Check out the video below to see ours... 

Blame Canada. At least in this instance, the title of the Oscar-winning 1999 song from the South Park motion picture might ring true, if only for those individuals that happen to have been a part of the angry social mob that just attacked Spokane-based RESCUE! Pest Control over the past couple of days. This angry, misguided gang of idiots also decided it was worth attacking yours truly based upon a 2014 review that I'd written about the TrapStik Non-Toxic Wasp Trap, followed by some social posts over the past few years - most recently, this past May. Part of my mission is to guide families toward products that work, and when it comes to controlling the Wasp population, there is nothing that I've found that works as well as the TrapStik - and it does so without pesticides of any kind. Now, they're being voluntarily pulled from the market pending a redesign, and that's a decision I don't agree with. The reason for the fiasco? The occasional unintended creature (bird or bug) may get stuck on the TrapStik. Personally, that's a risk I'm willing to take.

Last year at Blogger Bash in New York City, I got an early look at Sentiments' first Disney Pets Collection - a series of dog beds and bowls based around the iconic look of Mickey Mouse. Now comes word that the line was a success, and with that they're expanding line - and with Spider-Man: Homecoming hitting theaters this month, it's appropriate that their first foray into the Marvel realm is a collection aimed solely at canine fans of a certain NYC-based web-slinger. Can your dog (or cat) be a Disney or Marvel fan? I don't see why not...

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