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This Hotel Transylvania Special Feature is presented in collaboration between The Rock Father™ Magazine, Pollinate Media Group® and Snyder’s-Lance Inc.

With summer in full swing, we've entered the big summer movie season both in theaters and at home. For regular readers, it should be no secret that we're big movie fans, and while the traditional cinema experience can be a cool break from the hot summer temperatures, our family loves going to the drive-in, and we also love showing movies in our backyard theater right here at home. Backyard movies are a great way to bring the neighborhood together, and depending on what you're showing, it can also lend itself to some fun themes. Since Sony Pictures Animation's Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation is arriving in theaters on July 13, here's five essentials for throwing a Hotel Transylvania double-feature to get re-acquainted with how the story of Dracula and Mavis began. You'll be all caught up before Drac's pack sets sail on a monster cruise ship helmed by a Captain who holds a mysterious secret that could threaten them all!

A memorable backyard barbeque isn't complete without the smell of tangy barbeque sauce on the breeze, but A1 Steak Sauce had the genius idea of bringing it into your living room when they announced three new meat-inspired candle scents.

Just in time for Father's day, the sauce company released three limited edition candles on a special site inspired by the food their sauce improves: "Original Meat," "Backyard BBQ," and the elegantly put "Burger."

This morning, I received an email that had started off with a very true statement: "Whether you're a true Phish fan or not, you've tried Ben & Jerry's classic flavor, Phish Food." I have, and I love it so much that at one point it was my favorite flavor from the Ben & Jerry's lineup, despite my not being a Phish Phan at all. Now, Ben & Jerry's has partnered with Phish for a third flavor to celebrate the 21st anniversary of The WaterWheel Foundation. It's Ice... Cream features a caramel malt ice cream with almond toffee pieces, fudge fish and a caramel swirl and was one of the original flavor concepts in the running back in 1997, to become Phish Food. Luckily, Ben & Jerry's Flavor Gurus never lose sight of a good flavor concept and have brought it to pints. A portion of all proceeds will benefit The WaterWheel Foundation.

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are that of The Rock Father™. #ChargeYourDay #CollectiveBias
THE ROCK FATHER and his Circle K Mountain Dew Polar Pop Cup

It’s been nearly a year since I started The xB Mission - an idea that I could take what had been becoming an “old” car and start to reverse the process as its age begins inching toward “classic.” I special-ordered this car new, and I took delivery in June of 2004. 14 years and 160,000+ miles later, my Scion xB and I have a special relationship… like Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon, Michael Knight and K.I.T.T., The Lone Ranger and Silver. This ride and I have been through a lot together, and this year there will be more. What you can’t see in the picture above is that the whole family is there. My wife is snapping the photo, while our daughters are behind tinted glass in the back seat. While I’ve driven many vehicles over the years, it was my wife who once said “you’re synonymous with that car,” and in many ways that was the deciding factor to keep it rolling. Another thing that I’m known for? My beverage of choice: Mountain Dew Voltage. I’ve enjoyed thousands of them, and one of my favorites exclusive at Circle K on fountain is - Voltage Polar Pop® cup!

As Lucasfilm's Solo: A Star Wars Story comes out of hyperspace to land in theaters, the marketing partnerships, collaborations and thematic tie-ins are hitting full swing. Over at AMC Theatres, their MacGuffins Bar & Lounge continues to roll out some creative cocktails inspired by some of the biggest theatrical releases of the year, and for Solo they've got a good one. Toplined by Dan Aykroyd's Crystal Head Vodka, "The Scoundrel" is a beverage that looks exactly like something that Lando Calrissian would be whipping up in his bar aboard the Millennium Falcon (yes, it has a bar!*). Between blasting bounty hunters, ducking gangsters and avoiding the law, being a scoundrel is thirsty work. Satisfy your thirst with a mix of Crystal Head Vodka, blue curacao, house-made lemonade and a splash of Chambord...

Movies and snacks go together like Han and Chewie, and with the release of Lucasfilm's Solo: A Star Wars Story, the folks at popchips have a snacking suggestion. A special package arrived in my mailbox here at Rock Father HQ this week - one that contained a bag of popchips Galaxy Puffs and pair of tickets to see Solo: A Star Wars Story at the local Regal Cinemas. It's said "Hey James! This is the box you're looking for!," and contained a note to emphasize that "great movies deserve great snacks," and that they've delivered "the best snack in the galaxy" to "take your taste buds to hyperspace." Now I'm sure that "best snack in the galaxy" is subjective, as Jabba the Hutt tends to prefer a jar of those little frog-like creatures, the Ewoks will forage for just about anything, and who knows what Wuher is serving-up at the Mos Eisley Cantina these days. But these aged cheddar puffs are pretty good - and it's said that they're "Popped with The Force."

I do consider myself somewhat of a "hamburger enthusiast." I make a good one here at home, but like pizza it's something to marvel at in how you can have a food product so simple, yet prepared and served so very differently based on regional preferences and tastes. Hardee's is one of those regional staples in some spots, and while it's been married to Carl's Jr. for awhile, I always think of it with the orange and blue logo. In fact, I built a Monogram model kit of the #18 Days of Thunder Chevy Lumina back around 1990 or so, prominently displaying that Hardee's goodness in my bedroom at the time. NASCAR + burgers... a very American thing, and that's back on my mind with this - a giant hamburger on the ground outside Nashville... the creation of Stan Herd, an "earthworks" crop artist. This massive "crop burger" was created for Hardee's as part of their new #TastesLikeAmerica campaign. See video of its creation below. Does it make you hungry?

I think most parents have probably tried their hand at making "Mickey Mouse Pancakes" at some point, and if you're like me - the results have varied greatly. Overall, it's not really the end result that's important, but how you get there - and that's what caught my eye about the new Disney Eats collection. Available now from my affiliates at ShopDisney.com and coming 4/23 to Disney Store, Disney Eats encourages kids and grownups to get cooking together. It's an entire collection of new kitchen items including whisks, mixing bowls and spoons featuring classic Mickey and Minnie - and they come in "big" and "little" sets depending on the size of the cook.

"It's classic American barbecue with the volume turned to high..."

When it comes to cooking, one thing I'm a big fan of is meat. Here at Rock Father HQ, my wife and daughters eat poultry, but when it comes to pork, fish or my favorite - red meat, I'm the only genuine, 100% carnivorous meat-eater in the bunch. That said, when a copy of Chef Michael Symon's new book arrived... let's just say the cover alone was mouthwatering. Now, publisher Clarkson Potter has teamed-up with The Rock Father™ to give YOU a shot at winning Michael Symon's Playing with Fire: BBQ and More from the Grill, Smoker, and Fireplace plus a Masterbuilt Charcoal Bullet Smoker! It's the perfect way to celebrate the arrival of spring and the coming days with more time spent grilling outside and crafting great meals to share with your family.

I feel like Denny's just played a Jedi Mind Trick on me. It's 2:25pm and I feel the urgent need for breakfast, and the fact that they've got a new menu inspired by the upcoming release of Lucasfilm's Solo: A Star Wars Story is a pretty compelling draw. You could say it's pulling me in like the Death Star's tractor beam.  While the menu alone is presenting tastes inspired by a galaxy far, far away, they're also serving-up some collectibles, and that includes exclusive Solo: A Star Wars Story trading cards from The Topps Company. And those cards are part of a mission to do some good as net proceeds from the sale of all trading card packs will benefit Denny's longtime partner, No Kid Hungry, to help kick childhood hunger into the farthest reaches of The Outer Rim. Check out a new commercial below that shows what a Star Wars cantina might be like if it were a Denny's and all the patrons were throwing down for a "Hand of Sabbac!"

Unlike most of what I consider to be the "B-list" holidays, St. Patrick's Day is one I don't mind, and one that doesn't get it's due. It's likely because of its unfortunate scheduling, falling between two of the bigger names on the B-list: Valentine's and Easter. It wasn't until a few years ago that I learned that St. Patrick's Day is even stripped of its name in some schools, with "Shamrock Day" of "Clover Day" taking over. All that said, for me this day means corned beef and mint, and when I'm an a hurry, that means The Fast-Food St. Patrick's Day™ is in full-effect. I get a Reuben sandwich from Arby's (they have the meats!) along with a Shamrock Shake from McDonald's. It's extra convenient locally, as the two typically-warring fast-food icons are located next to each other. The video below documents my 2018 pilgrimage, right down to the inexplicable 7-minute wait for my Shamrock Shake. Enjoy!

This article has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CheckYourPetFood #CollectiveBias

The Rock Father with his dog Harry

Before they opened a new store that's conveniently less than five minutes from Rock Father™ HQ, one thing that I really admired about Meijer was their pet department. In a lot of ways, it always felt more like a pet store than a pet department. Visiting Meijer at least once a week (and sometimes more), we're always in there purchasing food to feed our family, and that includes food for our dog as well. If it's been awhile since you've taken a good look at what you're feeding your pets, now is the perfect time to do it - and that means taking a real look at the total package from ingredients to price. Does your pet food contain real meat? Are you overpaying for what you're getting, or settling for lower-quality food to save on price? With Meijer (check out mPerks savings!) and Purina®, you can feed your dogs like family! 

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