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Presented in collaboration between The Rock Father™ and Folgers® Perfect MeasuresTM

While there's certain other cities that might be associated with coffee on a more immediate basis thanks to crafty marketing and perception, Chicago is definitively a coffee town, and now there's some stats to prove that. Having lived in the Chicagoland area for most of my life, but also having visited much of our country, I really don't need data to back up what I already know - but still, it's cool to have it. Coffee is in my blood, and that's something I've mentioned many times here on this very site, and I famously trace that back to my great grandfather, who worked as a coffee taster in Chicago nearly a century ago. Just like him, people here are always on a quest for the perfect cup, and when you drink a lot of coffee that also means a perfect pot.

Tuesday, June 20 2017 09:59

The Legend of the Lucky Charms

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Presented in collaboration between The Rock Father™ and General Mills #LuckyCharms

When it comes to the world of breakfast cereal, the halls of General Mills are legendary. Within the sacred confines of this breakfast behemoth lies secrets that children and families have been trying to unlock for decades (like where Sir Grapefellow and Yummy Mummy are hiding). Behind each door, a pathway opens to incredible new worlds inhabited by mythical creatures,iconic monsters and colorful characters each of whom have played a vital part in creating memorable breakfast experiences for generations.

I tend to be notoriously hesitant when it comes to crowdfunding efforts*, but once in awhile something hits my radar that I'll share here on the site. Tertill: The Solar-Powered Weeding Robot for Home Gardens is just such a project, and it's one that sorta breaks two of my barriers - crowdfunding and home robotics. I have no interest in owning a Roomba to vacuum for me, and when it comes to lawn-mowing robots, that's just terrifying (they look like Battlebots, so I figure they'll attack children) and of no interest since I love mowing my lawn. One thing I don't like? Weeding our gardens. In our raised beds here at Rock Father HQ, we have a major weed problem, and the girls and I can't keep it under control. It's a huge pain, and that's where a little guy like Tertill can come in. Check this out, and watch the pitch video below.

Thursday, June 15 2017 00:00

Coffee & Rock: Ready to Roll for Father's Day

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This #ShouldBeOnACoffeeMug feature is brought to you in collaboration between The Rock Father, The J.M. Smucker Company and Life of Dad.

June is an important month around here, but it’s also a slightly weird one. Being that Father’s Day sits around the mid-month mark, that’s usually a signal for a huge influx of pitches I start getting from companies looking for some last-minute coverage in hopes of reaching families before the annual celebration of Fatherhood. Most of those don’t resonate with me, and some are fairly ridiculous -- many of them coming from folks I don’t hear from during the rest of the year. It’s almost like having a second birthday.  You see, I don’t need a “day” to celebrate what I am and always will be, but Father’s Day does hold some additional importance here - significance well-beyond selling greeting cards, novelty ties and coffee mugs (but remember that last one). I flipped the switch on this website on Father’s Day seven years ago. And our youngest daughter was born on Father’s Day weekend back in 2012. In life, there’s certain things that are ever-present, and for me, coffee is one of those things. Yes, coffee… and there’s familial importance. You could say that there’s “coffee in my blood,” but the more accurate a statement would be that it’s actually in my DNA. A close relationship with coffee has a lineage in my family, and that’s something that I’ve written about before. My great grandfather… my father’s grandfather, my grandmother’s father… he was a coffee taster by trade. My first name was his middle name.

This special feature is presented in collaboration between The Rock Father™, Cheerios and Life of Dad.

Parenting is a balancing act. It doesn’t matter whether your’re a dad or a mom, being responsible for the lives of little human beings can be a daunting task. It’s a gig that goes in waves and cycles, with each passing year, a flip of the calendar that simply shuffles the deck to bring in new challenges - just as the kids take on new activities. Here at Rock Father HQ, our balance includes a corporate gig for my wife (a 40-mile commute twice a day, five days a week), a weird schedule for me that now involves travel roughly once a month, and then balancing those responsibilities with our girls. Two school schedules - one in full-day, one in half-day - plus all the other things like ballet, gymnastics, swimming lessons, girl scouts, theatre camp… and whatever else might happen to plug itself into the mix. It sounds like a lot because it is - but we love it, and we make it work, but that deck is always stacked, and the right balance is key. When something gets out of whack (and it has… many times), the whole thing can come tumbling down for a reset. Just like a stack of wooden blocks… or a well-balanced stack of delicious Cheerios.

This Cars 3 feature is brought to you in collaboration between The Rock Father and Disney•Pixar. Interviews edited for clarity.

"I have two daughters, and one day my daughters told me rather abruptly that certain things were for boys and certain things were for girls," recalls Cars 3 Director Brian Fee. "And if something was, quote 'for boys,' they automatically didn’t have an interest in it or didn’t feel like they could have an interest in it. That was a red flag and it just kind of killed me that society puts those kind of labels on things, and that they, at such a young age, were already feeling those labels." Sitting in on a press conference at Sonoma Raceway ahead of the release of Disney•Pixar's Cars 3, I couldn't help but flash back to something that I'd written on this very site back in 2011, and how much things have changed in just six years. It was then that I asked, "Is Cars 2 Forgetting that Little Girls Like Cars TOO?" In the years since, I've echoed that sentiment, as the father of two daughters myself. While it wasn't necessarily the film at the time, the merchandising of Cars 2 was aimed firmly at one segment of the audience. With Cars 3, Pixar crashes the gate on all levels, delivering a movie that's truly for everyone.

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