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Step2 Brand AmbassadorOn my first visit to The Step2 Company's Ohio headquarters last year, there was a rather large mockup in the R&D department that immediately drew some attention from the entire group of Brand Ambassadors that I was there as a part of. While Step2 has long-been known for making some fantastic playhouses, we'd never seen one quite like the prototype we were looking at - something that the designers had been wanting to do for ages: one that was two stories. Fast-forward to the Fall of 2015 and The Step2 2-Story Playhouse & Slide is a reality, available exclusively at Toys "R" Us, and a featured pick in my 2015 Holiday Wish Guide.

There's a small percentage of folks out there who might gripe that it's "too early" to be thinking about... writing about... or encouraging the purchase of Holiday decor. Those people are wrong, and I can tell you this from a "past life" working retail, and from my longtime work in the music business. Holiday action in October is not a new thing - heck, even the famous CHRISTMAS ALBUM by ELVIS PRESLEY was released on October 15, 1957! Fact is, if you want the good stuff, you need to plan ahead and act early, and that's exactly why my annual Holiday Wish Guide is rolling out now on THE ROCK FATHER Magazine. This year, I've partnered with US Family Guide and Fisherman Creations to help spread the word about Crab Pot Christmas Trees - incredible, MADE IN THE USA decorations that are visible and sparkling from any angle.  Readers of THE ROCK FATHER can get 20% off and FREE Shipping with promo code USFG right now at CrabPotTrees.com! See them in-action below...

Kylo RenWhen the September 4th #ForceFriday onslaught of new product tie-ins to STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS arrived, the offerings went far beyond the realm of the usual toys and games. For nearly four decades, the STAR WARS name has been emblazoned upon countless items in practically every category one can think of, and in recent years, housewares has been a big one. In our kitchen here at Rock Father HQ you can find THE STAR WARS COOKBOOK: WOOKIEE COOKIES AND OTHER GALACTIC RECIPES, an R2-D2 Measuring Cup Set, C-3PO mugs, and even small cups for the kids. With a new movie comes the opportunity for some new styles, and the folks at Tervis are delivering just that with a new collection of their signature Hot/Cold Tumblers, each bearing imagery from THE FORCE AWAKENS.

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Step2 Brand AmbassadorI love toys. It's a simple statement of fact - but my passion for plastic has certainly been fed by the fact that my wife and I are the parents of two little girls... little ones whose interests are broad and diverse. Kinda like that of their parents. When I launched this website (now in year five), I had every intention of covering the toy industry through news, reviews and features - but had no idea that I'd eventually wind-up cashing checks from some of our favorite toymakers. One of my longest-standing relationships has been with The Step2 Company, for whom I've served as a toy tester and paid Brand Ambassador for the past few years. Now, as I've reached the mid-way part of my third (and final) year in this position, the curtain has been pulled back on the future of the company and the exciting new product line-up for the rest of 2015 and well beyond. Along with my fellow Ambassadors, I recently returned to Ohio to provide feedback and consultation on upcoming offerings in meetings with the marketing and development staff, and sat down with new President and CEO Chris Quinn. Step2 is a company that I believe in, and my latest adventure proved that they have some BIG surprises yet to come...

Earlier this year, I posted an article about going hands-on with the newest version of Step2's legendary Extreme Coaster. While the toy hasn't changed, it's color scheme has, and as a Step2 Brand Ambassador, my girls (and the rest of the neighborhood kids) have had a blast on their own personal "their-size" roller coaster (perfect, since we live in the shadows of Six Flags Great America) right here in our own backyard. While my initial post showed the Coaster in a very unconventional manner (indoors), now that it's warmer, the kids are absolutely loving this as it's outside in all of its glory. Would you like a Step2 Extreme Coaster for your own little rockers? We're giving you a chance to win one right now!

When I started this site a few years back, I had no idea where the path would take me. Truth be told, I still don't - but what I do know is that this site exists because of the two beautiful daughters that my wife and I created. While being "The Rock Father" led to THE ROCK FATHER, doing this site has created a lot of opportunities for my girls that they otherwise wouldn't have had, and in turn it's created many professional opportunities for me - the best of which have allowed me to give back to the community, and to all of you that have supported me, my family and this site. One such opportunity came when I first joined The Step2 Company as a "Test Driver" in 2013, later becoming a paid Brand Ambassador for the duration of 2014. As I first revealed in my year-end "Play it Forward" entry, I have indeed signed on for a third, and final year as a Step2 Brand Ambassador... and 2015 is going to be a ton of fun!

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