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... 

Published in Gardening

Presented in partnership with TOMY...

It's been a big year for TOMY, celebrating 70 years as a John Deere licensee via ERTL, and continuing to reach new generations of kids, along with collectors of all-ages. Having written a little bit about John Deere toys in the past, my love of these iconic green-and-yellow farm machines goes back to my own youth, often playing with my cousins on some real-life family farms. As a featured pick in my 2016 Holiday Wish Guide here on THE ROCK FATHER Magazine, TOMY presents a pair of John Deere Toy Box Bundles - exclusive holiday offers available only at TOMY.com, with savings of up to 40%. Check these out!

Published in Rock Father Rides

This year, TOMY is celebrating 70 years of being John Deere licensee - a tradition that began with the first Ertl toy tractors back in 1946. Growing up in the 80s, my cousins and I had a pretty nice assortment of Ertl John Deere farm equipment - the big metal ones - and we played with them hard, in the sandbox... in the mud... in rain or shine. A few years back, our oldest daughter had a little John Deere hat that said "Dirt Makes Me Cuter," a statement that still rings true (though the hat is outgrown), and seeing that little yellow and green logo always made me recall my teen years living in the Quad Cities, not far from the John Deere World Headquarters in Moline. Living in Illinois, and having farmers in our family, in a lot of ways it feels like John Deere may be a part of our DNA, so it's always cool to see our little ones playing with toys that capture some of the same feeling from when I was little... and lately that feeling is back with some new items from the John Deere Preschool collection, sent to Rock Father HQ for review by the folks at TOMY.