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THE ROCK FATHER: THE POP CULTURE MAGAZINE FOR FAMILIES THAT ROCK.

Getting the Car Organized & Ready to Rock the Holiday Road with Rubbermaid & #WalmartAuto

This adventure is brought to you by Walmart. THE ROCK FATHER is a Socialstars 2014 #WalmartAuto Ambassador. The Rubbermaid products featured in this story are all available in the Automotive Department of your local store or at Walmart.com.

Well, here we are again - just a week out from Thanksgiving (or X-mas rehearsal), Black Friday and all of the Holiday fun that will follow. It's that time of year to hit the road for those gatherings - the ones where you reconnect with beloved friends and family... and the occasional oddballs that you only see once or twice a year - the ones with personality traits straight out of a movie or sitcom. While the destination may vary, getting there should always be comfortable, and one way to do that is with car organization products from Walmart, like the Rubbermaid Mobile Backseat Organizer. I've got two of them here at Rock Father HQ, and they're perfect for keeping my girls' goodies organized for wherever we may roam.

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Cleveland Rocks: A Visit to The Step2 Company (and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame)! #RockFatherTour

THE ROCK FATHER is a 2014 Step2 Brand AmbassadorI didn't realize it until recently, but in 2014, I have already logged more travel miles and visited more cool locales than in any other year in the 37-ish that I've been roaming the planet Earth. Thing is, I'm not done yet - and as I type these virtual words to appear on your computer/device screen, there's other adventures already on the books for the four months ahead. The most recent journey on my 2014 #RockFatherTour was a special one, and a trip that was a little bit different than most - an adventure back to Northeastern Ohio, staying in Cleveland and spending some time in the neighboring town of Streetsboro - home of The Step2 Company, who I've been working with for nearly two years - first as a "Test Driver," and most recently, as one of 10 paid Brand Ambassadors. Along with five fellow Ambassadors (a few couldn't make it this time around), this was our first time working with Step2 in-person, taking meetings and going hands-on with some of the latest products (for kids and grownups!) that are hitting the market now, and all the way into Fall of 2015. If you've ever wondered "Where the Toys Come From," I have your answer...

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The Great American Road Trip: The J.M. Smucker Company Store and Cafe

Regular readers of THE ROCK FATHER know that I'm a big fan of The J.M Smucker Company. Smucker's is an American tradition, so when I had a chance to visit their headquarters in Orrville, Ohio last Fall for their Holiday Traditions gathering, I jumped at it. While I had a great time and learned a lot (want a killer Brussels Sprouts recipe?), I couldn't help thinking that my family would like to visit there as well, so on our first-ever Great American Road Trip series, I took my wife and daughters to The J.M. Smucker Company Store and Cafe for a late lunch and a little bit of shopping as we made our way back to Illinois last month.

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The Great American Road Trip: A Sweet Adventure at HERSHEY'S CHOCOLATE WORLD...

I love to think that there was a time - a time not long ago, just over a century ago - when you could build something in America that was able to become such a success, that an entire town could be named in it's (and your) honor. That happened when Milton S. Hershey created a "company town" that became known as Hershey, Pennsylvania, or "The Sweetest Place on Earth" back in 1894. Now, in addition to boasting the birthplace and main manufacturing hub for the Hershey's brands of chocolate-based goodness, Hershey, PA also includes a ballpark, arena, a theme park, and the original HERSHEY'S CHOCOLATE WORLD. As part of our first Great American Road Trip series, my wife and I took the girls the Chocolate World last month to experience it as a family.

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The Great American Road Trip: THE CRAYOLA EXPERIENCE...

As a parent, there's certain objects that become a part of your daily life - accessories that are always close at-hand to help nurture the creativity of your little ones. Things like crayons. And, when it comes to crayons, there is no brand more iconic than Crayola, who in 1903 launched what would become an Empire of fun with the release of their original box of eight wax crayons, then-sold for just 5 cents! In Easton, Pennsylvania stands the birthplace of Crayola - and in 2013 the former Crayola Factory was rebirthed as THE CRAYOLA EXPERIENCE - a 60,000 square-foot home of colorful adventure where kids of all ages can immerse themselves in a vibrant world of imaginative play. As part of our first Great American Road Trip series, my wife and I packed up the girls and headed for Pennsylvania, where THE CRAYOLA EXPERIENCE was a must-visit location...

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The Great American Road Trip: Our Adventure at SESAME PLACE...

When we kicked-off our first-ever family road trip earlier this month, my wife and I did a fantastic job of keeping our destinations largely a secret from the little ones. In fact, they only knew of one stop (Chocolate World), and that's because Addie caught me looking at it on the computer prior to our journey. The centerpiece of our trip was kept well under-wraps, and keeping it a surprise until we entered the gates was completely worth it as the reactions were priceless. After spending the night in Philadelphia, the family and I headed for Langhorne, Pennsylvania - home of SESAME PLACE - the Nation's only theme park based entirely on SESAME STREET.

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The Great American Road Trip: Philadelphia, The Liberty Bell and the ROCKY Experience...

When I last paused my story, we'd arrived in Philadelphia on nearly no sleep after our drive from Chicago, but with two girls that were ready to roll. We'd stopped by the DoubleTree Philadelphia, but knowing how early we were, as expected, our room was not yet ready. Fueled only by coffee, we set out for Independence Hall and The Liberty Bell to jump right into that true Philly experience. Being a Sunday, we were ahead of the crowds, and managed to stop by Carpenter's Hall and the Betsy Ross house as well...

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Rides: Caring for the Autobot and Decepticon in my Driveway (A Daddy and Addie Adventure) #WalmartAuto

This adventure is brought to you by Walmart. THE ROCK FATHER is a Socialstars 2014 #WalmartAuto Ambassador. The Armor All products featured in this story are all available at your local store or at Walmart.com.

Ten years ago, SCION made it's debut here in the U.S., and I - deeply embedded in the entertainment world at the time - found myself enamored by the Scion XB, aka "The Box" after seeing it on the streets of California, where it arrived early. I ordered one brand-new, completely loaded and set to be delivered in June of 2004. In fact, I'm told it was the first black version to be delivered and sold in the state of Wisconsin (and imported to Illinois), but I've never been able to confirm that. I had it decked out with red LEDs to capture that KNIGHT RIDER vibe I dig so much, along with racing pedals, additional performance features, and the top-of-the-line Pioneer sound system. Upon arrival, I bestowed upon it a red Autobot insignia, displayed proudly on it's rear window... a throwback to the TRANSFORMERS debut in 1984. The car and I were ready for adventure, and many adventures were had. Now, in 2014 - I still have the Autobot in my driveway, but things are different. The bazooka tube is out of the trunk (room for a stroller), and in the back are a pair of car seats. 160,000 miles later, my Scion is still rockin', and it's Daddy and Addie that keep it that way.

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The Great American Road Trip: 1,900 Miles, Six Days, Three Hotels, and Infinite Adventure...

Around 30 years ago, my parents took my sister and I on a road trip to Washington, D.C. Along the way, we stopped at several locations in Pennsylvania, making memories that have lasted a lifetime. With our girls hitting two and five this year, my wife and I decided it was time for our first family vacation - and as such, it was to be a road trip. We plotted several potential courses, with the Philadelphia area set to be the focal point and ultimate destination for a couple of reasons. First off, we were going to finally take Sprout up on a long-standing offer to stop by the Comcast Center and see Chica at the Sunshine Barn during a visit to the set of THE SUNNY SIDE UP SHOW. Second, we wanted to head for Langhorne to visit SESAME PLACE. During our planning, we attempted to pack in as much as possible, with potential stops in Washington, D.C., New York City, West Virginia and Cincinnati on the chart. Instead, we strategically plotted our trip to be centralized in PA - visiting some iconic locations in Philly (but scrapping the Sprout visit), our big trip to SESAME PLACE, a visit to THE CRAYOLA EXPERIENCE in Easton, HERSHEY'S CHOCOLATE WORLD in Hershey, and a swing back through Ohio to visit my friends at SMUCKER'S on our way back to Northern Illinois.

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Rock Father Tour: When in Philly... Geno's or Pat's for Cheesesteak? #VisitPhilly

G.J JOE or COBRA? Autobots or Decepticons? Coke or Pepsi? Angels or Demons? Empire or Rebellion? Throughout the course of time and mankind, there have many been epic battles that have raged on and become the subject of infinite debate. Is there a "right" or "wrong" answer? Probably not, but whichever you prefer will ultimately become your "right," and besides - everyone knows that COBRA rules. Last week, however, I dropped myself smack-dab in the middle of two longtime rivals, PAT'S KING OF STEAKS and GENO'S STEAKS - both located directly across from one another in South Philadelphia. You see, I dig a good "Philly Cheesesteak" - but I'm from Chicago, and up until now, I'd never had the chance to take the cheesesteak challenge for a legit Philly Cheesesteak. While this doesn't really fall inline with my fitness challenge, I made an exception (and hit the hotel gym later) to choose my side.

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