As we've reached the half-way mark of the Fall season, it's time to get serious about Fall Cleanup since Winter is just around the corner. While it's been sunny, and some might say, "unseasonably warm" around these parts of late, reality is that the first major snow dump of the season arrived here in mid-November - so you never know how quickly things will change. With that in mind, it's worth taking a look at the trees around your property to see what's gotten unruly, identifying what should be trimmed before the cold winds and heavy snow start snapping branches. From Snow Joe + Sun Joe comes their new 10-Inch 8-Amp Multi-Angle Telescopic Electric Pole Chain Saw (SWJ803E) which I was sent for review this season. Check it out in-action...
On November 4, the colorful world of Troll Village will come to the big screen when DreamWorks Animation's "Trolls" opens in theaters nationwide. As the official Paint, Hardware & Home Improvement sponsor of the film, True Value developed a 24-color paint palette inspired by the inhabitants of Troll Village. True Value selected 8 of the main characters and developed a 3-color palette for each character. In addition to the paint, True Value developed a Trolls paint tray kit that has 5 custom Trolls character stencils, stencil brush, roller and roller cover to "Trollify" any room - all available exclusively at your locally-owned True Value hardware stores or on TrueValue.com (where you can find all kinds of fun project inspiration as well). Now, THE ROCK FATHER Magazine is teaming-up with 20th Century Fox, DreamWorks and True Value to give readers a shot at winning a fun Trolls Prize Pack!
This weekend, the Chicago Botanic Garden officially opens the doors to the Regenstein Learning Campus, a beautiful, 7-acre campus built for learners of all ages, with the intention to "facilitate connections between people and the environment." The Rock Daughters™ and I recently had a chance to preview the new Campus and its Learning Center - a 26,700 square-foot building that features 12 indoor and two outdoor classrooms, a nature laboratory, early childhood classrooms, the ITW kitchen and spaces for wellness classes. Outside, The Nature Play Garden, with its rolling hills and series of multisensory gardens, provides areas for hiding, exploring, learning and gathering - a fine place for kids to run around and have infinite adventures. The Campus will be the home of the Joseph Regenstein Jr. School of the Chicago Botanic Garden, offering year-round classes, day camps and programs.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GarageCleanUp #CollectiveBias
They say to "pick your battles," but sometimes the war is right in front of you, raging on and on with no end in sight. For us here at Rock Father HQ, the garage is that war - and we've been fighting battles with it since we bought this house over six years ago. We have a lot of stuff, and since there's no basement, the garage is a multi-purpose room - a "facility" ("The Warehouse," as my dad once called it) used for storage, special projects, occasional video production, but largely the home to The Rock Daughters™' impressive fleet of vehicles and toys - like a Batcave or Q's lab, but for kids that are 4 & 7. Also factor in all the stuff we've been shoving out there for an eventual "mythical" garage sale that we can never seem to find time to make happen, and we have what to an outsider could look like some kind of hoarder situation - and it goes in cycles. The key to managing it is organization, and I first started tackling it back in 2014 when the Rubbermaid® FastTrack® Garage Organization System first came out. I started getting one wall straightened out, but there's been much more to attack. One of the biggest problems with being able to properly organize the place and really maximize the use of space is that the previous homeowners created a terribly-designed mess of "shelving" (if you can call it that) made out of scrap wood and junk - and much of it was connected, so lose one piece, and another would be affected. This past weekend, my wife and I fought a mighty battle to get another section in-order, namely my workbench and the area that surrounds it. After a trip to The Home Depot (with Finley, who wanted to help with check-out), I had all the pieces that I needed to start dismantling the mess, and rebuild with the good stuff.
Over the past few years, we've had a growing threat here at Rock Father HQ, an enemy whose numbers have been increasing, all while the usual tactics of combat have been proving ineffective as our adversary has evolved. These bloodsucking beasts are, of course, mosquitoes, and their presence truly has increased to nearly-unbearable numbers at times, managing to be "vampires of fun" - sucking the enjoyment out of our all-too-short summer season here in Illinois. I've tried everything, as have my neighbors and the county. As the mosquitoes locally have brought with them greater threats like West Nile and now the infamous Zika Virus, protecting our children has become something of paramount importance, and there is no single solution, but with the right combination of weapons in our fight, we're finally making progress. This year, we've added an impressive new tool to our arsenal in the form of the DynaTrap XL - a cutting edge tool in our war against mosquitoes and other flying pests. With no chemicals and no propane, we've had our DynaTrap XL installed since early May, simply plugged-in and running 24/7 to help in the fight, and it's been working - an impressive feat, considering how many other options I've tried that have failed.