Craving Dole Whip

Disney & museum obsessed, homeschooling mom of 3, parenting to focus on experiences, not possessions. Sharing Disney tips, educational adventures and 'been-there-done-that' reviews. Constantly craving Dole Whip.


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Amazing Glass Blowing Experience At The Hot Shop Glass Studio

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The Morean Arts Center in St. Petersburg, Florida, is a modern art gallery, open to the public and free of charge.  It showcases the work of local artists and craftsmen while offering interesting and creative classes.  Across the street is the Chihuly Collection, a structure built specifically to display the amazing glass work of American artist, Dale Chihuly.  Read a review of the museum here.

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Housed behind the Morean Arts Center facility and located in the hip and upcoming Central Arts District of downtown, the Hot Shop is a covered, outdoor art studio dedicated to the unique and exciting art of glass blowing.  Live glass blowing demonstrations take place daily and bleachers are available for spectators, as long as a ticket to the Chihuly collection has been purchased.

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On New Year’s Eve of 2016, my daughters each participated in the individual glass blowing experience offered at the Hot Shop.  The 30 minute experience cost $75 per person.  I purchased the tickets and made reservations online several months in advance (and gave it to my girls as a Christmas gift).

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Each daughter got 30 minutes of one-on-one attention and instruction from a knowledgeable and patient glass blowing expert.  They learned the fundamentals of glass blowing, the history and the process, while receiving step-by-step instructions to create their own pieces of art.

First, participants choose which project to create from a few sample pieces.  Individual color choices are made next.

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With the help of the professional glass blower, participants heat up the glass and gather colored crystals while swirling the molten glass on the tip of a rod.

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Some movements are made tandem-style for safety reasons, but most of the work is completed by participants with clear and concise directions coming from the artist.

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Once the colored piece is heated properly, the process of shaping begins with twisting and turning.   Forged tools are used for pulling and stretching and additional heat sources (which my youngest daughter loved!) help to keep the glass malleable.

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Once the piece is completed, the master glass blower removes it from the rod and places it inside a safe container for cooling.  The unusual art pieces are ready for pick up the next day because it takes time to properly cool the glass.  If participants can not return the next day, the artwork can be shipped home for a small fee.

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The personal glass blowing experience was amazing and very interesting.  My husband and I both wish we had bought 2 additional reservations for ourselves to participate.  But, we loved having a front seat to watch our girls create their own unique glass pieces, and that was super cool!

The professional artist was friendly and more than willing to answer all of the questions my daughters threw his way.  This was a great experience and we learned not only the process of making glass art but also gained an appreciation for the time, talent and effort put into the creation of glass pieces.

 

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Quick little side tidbit:

My daughter’s experiences were reserved for 10:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.  We arrived early and were delighted to find a cozy, modern coffee shop right next door to the Morean Arts Center.

The Banyan Café and Catering, Central location, offers super yummy, fresh breakfast sandwiches, burritos, waffles, fruit, granola and pastries.  Made with local ingredients, the inventive and unique menu changes often.  Breakfast and lunch are both served daily.  A weekend brunch is also served and there are several delightful tables providing indoor and outdoor seating.

The address is 701 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, Florida and phone number is 727-896-6600.  Check out their daily menu at www.banyancoffee.com.

Hours of operation:

Monday-Friday 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.


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The Morean Arts Center is located at 719 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, Florida, 33701.

The main website is www.moreanartscenter.org

For more information, call 727-822-7872.

The art center is free and open to the public.

Monday-Saturday 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Sunday 12:00 noon-5:00 p.m.


You need to know:

The personal glass blowing experience is $75 per person for 30 minutes.

The minimum age requirement is 11 years old.

Participants need to wear closed-toed shoes, cotton clothing and no dangling jewelry, rings or bracelets.


After the personal glass blowing experience, we spent several hours viewing the Chihuly Collection across the street.  Read a review of the Chihuly Collection here.

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We leisurely walked Central Avenue for the rest of the afternoon, enjoying a quiet, delicious lunch at the Iberian Rooster, ice cream treats and perusing many local shops in the Central Arts District.

I recommend spending an entire day (or 2!) enjoying this eccentric and eclectic area of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Going to Oklahoma soon?  Check out my review the best history museum in OK here.

Read my top 5 reasons for homeschooling our daughters here.

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Chihuly Collection At The Morean Arts Center

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Dale Chihuly is a world -renowned, American glass blowing artist.  Born on September 20, 1941, in Tacoma, Washington, Chihuly’s large scale, contemporary creations are unique and inventive.  His breathtaking environmental art and gravity defying installations create a sense of wonder and amazement.

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Within the Central Arts District of downtown St. Petersburg, the Morean Arts Center includes a building designed specifically to display a permanent collection of Dale Chihuly’s glass creations.

We visited this amazing exhibit in December of 2016.

The Morean Arts Center is free to the public and showcases the work of local artists.  Across Central Avenue is the spectacular building containing the Chihuly permanent collection.  To view the Chihuly collection, buy tickets online or inside the Chihuly building.  Tickets are $19.95.

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As a pioneer in the artistic glass movement, Dale Chihuly is creating stunning, fragile artwork completely made using different glass blowing techniques.  His sculptures range from enormous, complex outdoor installations to ornate and breathtaking colorful bowls.

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Because this is a permanent exhibit, the architecture of the building and the glass pieces were designed to work in harmony, creating an unique visual journey and a peaceful experience for visitors.  The intricate and very deliberate placement of lighting showcases and highlights the dancing colors and delicate artwork.  It is purely breathtaking.

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We spent at least 2 hours enjoying the collection and near the exit, we found a Dale Chihuly biographical movie playing in a small theater with benches for seating.  The film was a little long, but very informative and worth the extra time.  My daughters studied Chihuly several months before our vacation, but learned quite a bit more from the movie at the museum.

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My family and I were completely mesmerized by the glass work of Dale Chihuly.  If you find yourself near St. Petersburg, put this museum on your “Must-Do” itinerary.

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The Morean Arts Center is located at 719 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, Florida, 33701.

It is free and open to the public.

Monday-Saturday 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Sunday 12:00 noon-5:00 p.m.

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The Chihuly Collection is located at 720 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, Florida, 33701.  The main website is www.moreanartscenter.org  For more information, call 727-822-7872.

Ticket prices are $19.95 per adult and include entry into the Chihuly Collection, The Morean Arts Center, live glass blowing demonstrations at the Hot Shop and docent lead tours Monday-Friday.

Senior, military and student discounts are available.

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If you love the beautiful glass work created by Dale Chihuly, check out this post to find out how you can experience glass blowing and make your own piece of artwork, right across the street from the Chihuly Collection!


Click here to read about the Dali Museum is St. Petersburg, Florida.


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How I Save Money On Every Disney Vacation

Let’s just face it–a trip to Walt Disney World can be crazy expensive.  Most families save and save and save to make a Disney vacation possible.

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Is it worth it?

YES!

Is it expensive?

It can be.

But, don’t fret–I am here to help!

There are a few ways to save a little here and there…and every little bit helps, right?

Ask yourself these questions before you start planning–click here.

To learn how to plan a Disney vacation like a pro, click here.

Confused by the 2017 Disney dining plan?  No worries.  Click here.

Get out your spiral notebook and take notes, my friends.

These are all great ways to save some $$ on your next Walt Disney World vacation.

  • Be flexible with travel dates.  The greatest savings on a vacation to Walt Disney World can be found in the travel dates.  Peak travel times (like Christmas, other holidays and summer) will produce the highest prices for Disney resorts, dining and plane tickets.  Plus, crowd levels can get out of control.  Consider booking during slower weeks, when on-property resort prices can drop by 35%-40%.

 

  • The magic of a Disney pin code.  With no rhyme or reason, a pin code (think promo code) can magically show up via email or snail mail.  Pin codes are exclusively linked to your name–you can not pass it along to your Aunt Sally or best friend Jen.  And, no one is quite sure how to get one sent…but, I do have suggestions.  My pin codes appear after I excessively snoop around the Disney website.  (That’s like every day!  HA!)  But, seriously…I suggest you create a free My Disney Experience account on the Disney website (There is an app, too!) and then log in every time you visit the website, even if you are just playing around.  Visit regularly.  Visit often.  You can also request to have a free planning DVD sent to your home address.  If Disney knows you are interested and thinking of a WDW vacation, a pin code just might be the incentive you need to book a trip.  ***Make sure your email address and mailing address are correct.

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  • Disney Credit Cards.  Chase offers 2 kinds of Disney credit cards and the offers attached to those cards change regularly, so check it out for yourself and see what is current.  Traditionally, this is what I have come across:  Card #1 has no annual fee, $50 statement credit after the first purchase and 1% back in Disney reward dollars.  Card #2 has a $49 annual fee, $200 statement credit if $500 is spent in the first 3 months and 2% back in Disney reward dollars for gas, grocery, restaurants, most Disney locations and 1% back in Disney reward dollars on all other purchases.  The Disney reward dollars are transferred to a Disney gift card (transfer online once you have at least $10 in rewards).  The Disney gift cards can then be used to pay for all things Disney–resort, tickets, dining or souvenirs!  ***I do not love credit cards, BUT…if you promise to pay it off each month, I think this is a great way to save a little towards a Disney vacation.  I put all of our reoccurring monthly charges (that were originally coming from our bank account) on the Disney credit card–i.e. orthodontist, electricity, Taekwondo–and we don’t use the credit card for anything else.

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  • Disney Savings Account.  Google Disney Vacation Account. It is a free, online savings account.  It takes about 10 minutes to set it up.  Enter a possible vacation date and how much $$$ you want to save and it will calculate how much needs to be deposited.  You can choose how often and where the withdraws originate (think about using the Disney credit card to get more rewards).  You can change everything at anytime.  For every $1000 from the savings account that is used towards a Disney vacation, Disney will send you a $20 Disney gift card.  I know it isn’t much. Bummer.  But, if you are spending several $1000 anyway, why not get $20, $40, $60 or more???  One-time deposits can also be made through bank accounts or by entering Disney gift card numbers.  Money can be withdrawn at anytime and will be refunded in the same manner in which it was deposited with no penalties.  When it comes time to pay for your vacation, there is an option to use a Disney savings account on the check out page on the Disney website.  More detailed information can be found on the actual Disney Vacation Account site.

 

  •  Discount Warehouse Shopping.  Sam’s Warehouse and Costco occasionally offer Disney gift cards at a discount.  Last Christmas, I was able to purchase $500 Disney gift cards for $476.  Check often and check online.

 

 

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  • My Savings Plan.  ***This is how I use the above suggestions.  Stick with me…it is slightly confusing, but I will do my best to accurately describe my plan.  I use my Disney credit card (the one that gets 2% back on groceries) to purchase the discounted Disney gift cards from Sam’s Warehouse.  Then, I enter the gift card numbers as a deposit into my Disney savings account.  Eventually, I use the savings account to pay for our Disney vacation, hopefully during a non-peak period and with a pin code.  It doesn’t always work out that way, but it sure is nice when it does!

 

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Other Ways to Save $$$:

  • Target Red Card.  I read a lot of talk online about the Target Red Card and Disney gift cards.  Honestly, I do not have a Target Red Card.  But, I do know Disney lovers use the Target Red Card to purchase Disney gift cards and get 5% off.  Suggestion:  Try to purchase the gift cards with some other items–I have read it doesn’t always work if you purchase the cards alone.  Let me know about your experience!

 

  • Presents and Gifts.  Ask for Disney gift cards for your next birthday/anniversary/holiday.  Put Disney gift cards in Christmas stockings or Easter baskets to be used during an upcoming vacation.  I write my children’s names on the back of the cards with a Sharpie marker and put all of them in a baggie during the year…and when our vacation finally arrives, we total the amounts and each child knows how much they have to spend on souvenirs–before we even leave!

 

  • An Extra $25.  Pick up a $25 Disney gift card each time you go grocery shopping and just throw all of them in a baggie (to pay for meals or souvenirs) or use the cards to make deposits into your new Disney savings account.

 

  • Stop Eating Out.  Ok.  Ok.  Yes, we eat out too much!  I do a great job of cooking at home for awhile, but then…well…life…  So, we try to only eat at home for the months or weeks leading up to our Disney vacation.  It really does make a difference!

 

  • Garage Sale.  Seriously.  Go through your junk and host a garage sale.  Use the proceeds to make a deposit into the Disney savings account or buy Disney gift cards with your loot!

 

  • Money Jar.  Start a collection jar for loose change and coins.  Collect coins from every empty purse, car console, couch, junk drawer and school backpack!  Get everyone involved and watch those coins stack up!  When the jar is full, have the kids count it all out or use one of those change counting machines.  Turn the money into a Disney gift card for souvenirs!

 

  • Water and Snacks.  Take bottled water and snacks into the Disney theme parks.  Empty water bottles can be filled at water fountains and cups of ice water are free at every quick service restaurant.  Save $$ by carrying a backpack with snacks and meals for your family.  Lockers are also available for storing a soft cooler or bag.  If you drive your own vehicle, leave a large cooler in the car and go to the parking lot for a mid-day picnic!

 

  • Buy Souvenirs at Home.  Disney themed everything can be found everywhere!  Save some serious $$ by purchasing Disney items BEFORE you enter the parks!  Stash the goodies and surprise the kids with “souvenirs” each day.  I call it ‘The Disney Fairy”.  Once you are in Orlando, the Walmart Supercenter and the Disney Warehouse outlet store are also fabulous places to visit for discounted souvenirs!

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Everyone likes to save $$$.  And we all love Disney!  So, saving $$ on a Disney vacation is a win-win situation!

I hope you guys can use some of these money $$ saving ideas–Share your own Disney saving ideas below!

Best places to purchase cool Disney shirts?  Click here!

For a list of every character meal at Disney, click here!

 

 


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The Museum Of The Great Plains

Tucked away in the sleepy town of Lawton, Oklahoma, is a surprisingly impressive and highly interactive museum bursting with exhibits dedicated to the Great Plains of the United States.

My family and I found this showpiece completely by happy accident.  While searching for the Comanche National Museum, our GPS told us to drive through an empty parking lot first.  It was the parking lot of this museum.

We decided to stop and check it out.

We are so smart!

If you are headed to or through Lawton, Oklahoma…put this museum on your itinerary.

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Welcome to the Museum of the Great Plains.

The Museum of the Great Plains officially opened in 1961 and a massive 25,000 square feet of space was added in 1997, including a foyer and gift shop.  We were told the main museum was recently renovated when we visited in 2016.  The museum was very clean, well organized and one of the most interesting museums my family has ever visited.

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The Museum of the Great Plains is a top-notch, hands-on history museum, focusing on the diverse cultures and inhabitants of the Great Plains.  It celebrates the enormous area located in the interior of North America between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains, spanning the vast land separating Mexico and Canada.

Nods to the past, present and future, with a dash of Oklahoma history fill the immense, educational space.  The museum website suggests at least an hour for the self-guided tour, but we were there all day (and could have stayed longer!)

 

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An excellent tornado disaster-themed theater showcases a realistic tornado cellar, simulated storm and video clips from Terrible Tuesday, which was a catastrophic tornado outbreak in 1979 that destroyed Wichita Falls and the Red River Valley.

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A large, life-size bison replica allows visitors to remove various organs from the guts and learn the different ways hunters used 100% of the animal.  Did you know that 87 non-food uses for buffalo have been documented?
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Many interactive exhibits encourage visitors to take a step back in time and experience the Great Plains in practical, every day settings.  Several teepee dwellings, canvas shelters and covered wagons are completely accessible to visitors, creating tangible connections to the past.

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An authentic mammoth dig site provides tools and an active environment for fossil discovery.

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“Exploring the human history of the Great Plains” is the museum’s motto and is best represented by the fantastically realistic general store.  Every item found inside could be moved, used, bought and sold during creative and imaginative play.  It was historically accurate and surprisingly entertaining.

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A captivating leather stamping exhibit teaches visitors how to wet and properly stamp leather disks, which can be taken home as souvenirs.  The leather workshop is equipped for live demonstrations, but there was not one scheduled for the day we visited.

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An enormous printing press artifact sits in the corner of an interactive newspaper print shop, where visitors are encouraged to choose printing blocks to create a visually pleasing newspaper front page by designing the layout and presentation of information.

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My girls enjoyed the simulated calf roping exhibit, where they learned to handle the rope, practiced proper placement of the swinging arm and worked on perfecting the correct time for the release.

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Encased in clear display stands, artifacts sprinkle the museum landscape between the multitudes of interactive exhibits.  Informational postings explain and describe the objects in simple concepts and details.

The crowning jewel of this unexpectedly remarkable museum is the 1830’s trading post and fort we discovered outside.

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Within the knobby log walls of this genuine trading post, we uncovered a fully-stocked supply building with several pioneer history buffs dressed in period clothing, reenacting the day-to-day events of the early 1800’s.  The men and women were knowledgeable and passionate and taught my girls to make fire with forged tools.  We spent at least 3 hours enjoying the outdoor grounds, reenactors and displays.

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The Intermodal Transportation Center can be found outside near the trading post.  A large train engine and multiple farm equipment machines are on display near a replica depot.  Unfortunately, the center was closed by the time we finished touring the outdoor trading post.  However, we were able to walk around and view a few of the items parked outside.

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The entire Great Plains Museum provides an educational journey through the history and activities of the people living and working in the Great Plains.  Every exhibit is authentic, interactive, educational and hands-on.

My daughters were 10 and 11 at the time of our visit and they greatly enjoyed this museum.

 

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The Museum of the Great Plains is located at 601 NW Ferris Avenue, Lawton, OK, 73507.  It is inside Elmer Thomas Park, beside McMahon Auditorium and The Comanche National Museum.  Call directly at 580-581-3460 or visit their website at www.discovermgp.org.

Hours of operation:

Monday-Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Fees:

Free:  Visitors ages 2 and younger

$8:  Visitors ages 3-12

$10:  Visitors ages 13+

$9:  Visitors with a military ID card

$9: Visitors ages 62+

Free:  Museum members

 

Are you curious about homeschooling?  Click here to read about the top 5 reasons we homeschool our daughters.

 

 


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Why Is Disney World So Important To My Family?

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Obviously, we love Walt Disney World.  I know I mentioned that my parents took me and my sisters there countless times.  And, I will admit, in the beginning of my own parenting journey, I took my children to Disney purely for the memories and nostalgia factor.

But, somewhere between 2011 and 2014, our family Disney vacations began to evolve and our time in the theme parks started to represent something even more powerful than pure entertainment.

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50’s Prime Time is my youngest daughter’s favorite restaurant because she loves the history and culture of the 1940’s and 1950’s. 

 

It is as simple as this:

My profoundly gifted daughters can be themselves at Disney.

 

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My youngest, driving like a crazy person

 

They can act their chronological age and their mental age at the exact same time, without constantly being self conscious.

And, Disney has become our escape…An escape from our extreme lives.

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Day-to-day, my daughters have to exist in an extreme dichotomy of situations and they constantly have to choose which “version” of themselves to represent.

There is the college student version:  Responsible.  Mature.  Studious.  Goal oriented.  Attentive.  Serious.

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And, then there are the little girl versions…who still enjoy playing with Barbie dolls, sleep with stuffed animals and splash about in swimming pools.

A child-like calmness washes over my daughters when they step onto Main Street, USA.  Instead of college students, they are innocent children ready to tackle Splash Mountain!

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It is a surprising, odd and interesting phenomenon.

The simple joys of Walt Disney World rejuvenate their spirits and relaxes their chaotic brains.  Honestly, it does the exact same thing for me.

My family can enjoy a 5 hour, 10 course dinner at Victoria and Albert’s, learn about hydroponic farming during the Behind The Seeds Tour, study marine life for hours at the Epcot aquarium and giggle uncontrollably while spinning the tea cups inside Magic Kingdom…All in one day, if we choose.

Disney is the perfect balance of everything my family needs.

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Victoria and Albert’s.  December.  2016.

 

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The joy of the tea cups!

 

 

It is freeing and playful.  It is educational, historical and cultural.  It is beautiful and majestic.

There is no other place like it.

 

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Do you want to learn how to plan a Walt Disney World vacation like a pro?  Click here.

Confused about the Disney dining plan?  Click here.

For a list of all character dining meals available at Walt Disney World, click here.

 

 

 


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5 BIG Surprises About My Life With Profoundly Gifted Children

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5 THINGS THAT MIGHT SURPRISE YOU ABOUT MY LIFE WITH EXTRAORDINARY CHILDREN:

1.  We cry A LOT in this house.

A few years ago, the wind swirled the air like a crazy late September hurricane.  In the car-rider line at school, I opened the door to let my daughter out and her science review sheet flew into the oncoming traffic.  I tried to catch the flying paper, but the wind won…and it was quickly out of eyesight.  She knew the material–we studied every night for at least a week.  But, my oldest daughter possesses a strong attachment to THINGS.  To most EVERY thing.  She cares DEEPLY and she cries INTENSELY.  She cries for the homeless.  She cries for orphans.  She cries for shelter animals.  She cries when people cheat.  She cries when something breaks.  And yes…she cries for review sheets…for 25 minutes…sobbing…in the school parking lot…completely devastated.

We cry a lot.

My youngest daughter, LOVES Elvis Presley and of course, she understands that he died years ago.  However, after watching a 4 hour documentary that ended with footage of his casket, my daughter was inconsolable.  Hyperventilating.  Crying out in pure pain and sorrow.  That session lasted a few hours.

Did I mention we cry a lot in this house?

I can think of at least 213 overly emotional stories.  The day my husband sold his car.  The day my oldest daughter learned she was too young to get married.  The time she sobbed because she didn’t know about the permits needed to build an orphanage.  A dead butterfly on the driveway…

Moments like this happen every day.  Several times a day.

I cry, too.  My children require a SUPER MOM…there is NO down time and I worry about my inability to meet their unique needs.  I am ordinary.  I am tired.

This extreme parenting is sometimes just too overwhelming.

Please understand…our house is NOT a sad house.  My girls are just intense.  Emotionally intense.  They FEEL things and experience life on a plane of intensity unfamiliar to my ordinary emotions.  It’s just the way it is.

2.  We still nap.

A big shocker to most outsiders is that my 11 year old desperately needs a daily nap and my life semi-revolves around that schedule as if she was still 3 months old.  That child barely sleeps at night.  Her mind races and spins and dances and wreaks havoc all over this family.  A mid-day nap is an essential part of her survival and ability to function.  On the weekends and during summer vacation, BOTH girls take naps.  Active brains need rest.

3.  We are on a time limit.

With all her 5 senses, my youngest absorbs and filters up to 200% more information than the average person.  I assume my other daughter falls somewhere on that spectrum as well.  That’s a lot of stimuli.  If we are in a visually stimulating, academically engaging environment, time is ALWAYS ticking.  They can only take in so much before the migraines begin.  One daughter gets overwhelmed.  The other gets grouchy.  AND, they shut down.  Time to go home!

A challenging environment with crowds, loud noises, weird smells, or extreme temperatures causes severe anxiety.   I try to stay ahead of the meltdowns and some days, I successfully read the signals.  Other days, I fall victim to the chaos and suffer the consequences right along with my daughters.

4.  We are lonely.

My girls do not receive many birthday party invites.  There are no playdates.  No sleepovers.  No phone calls from friends.  And yes, my daughters still play.

At this moment in time, my daughters PREFER to play with each other.  I think they feel more at ease and can be themselves without feeling odd or weird or different.

I am lonely, too.  There are very few people I can honestly talk to without sounding boastful.  Negative judgements, strong opinions and criticisms come next.  Everyone gets a fraction, a small segment of the truth.  And, my social calendar belongs to my children.  Their needs come first.

5.  School and academics are NOT always easy.

It is an assumption (an incorrect one) that gifted children need very little to be successful in school.  Though my 11-year-old has powered through four years of math in 6 months and is about to complete her second semester in college, she struggles to remember to capitalize the first letter of a sentence.

My 13-year-old won the school and homeschool spelling bee and reads on a post college level, but failed the district reading benchmark test back in the day because her concrete mind can not process inferences or assumptions.  She DOES NOT understand sarcasm, joking or teasing.  She is a black and white thinker.  Right or wrong.  When it comes to reading comprehension, if the answer is not stated in the reading passage, she is utterly LOST.

This brings me to the evil lurking behind a profoundly gifted label:  It is called Asynchronous Development.  And, I HATE it.

Asynchrony is the state of not being synchronized.  (Who came up with THAT definition?)

Essentially, it presents itself as uneven development in gifted kids.  Hence, the need to homeschool. We constantly remind ourselves (and others) that just because my daughters are advanced academically, it DOES NOT mean they are years ahead socially or emotionally…and certainly not physically.

Asynchrony is confusing and frustrating and challenging.  Both girls suffer and excel at the hands of their asynchronous development.  It makes traditional schooling and most learning situations very difficult.

So…

If given the opportunity, especially if presented on a particularly challenging day, I would probably change all of this…if I could. IF I could pick and choose WHICH aspects stayed and which ones disappeared, I would jump at the chance to lessen the burden for my daughters.  YES I WOULD–in a heartbeat!

BUT, the over excitabilities and asynchronous development are part of a package deal.  They all go hand-in-hand with the profoundly gifted diagnosis.  I don’t get to pick and choose…and neither do my girls.  It is part of who they are and my job is to teach them how to manage and cope with ALL aspects of their abilities.

We choose to embrace the positive AND the negative, for without one there is NO balance or appreciation for the other.

It IS what makes them extraordinary.

 

 mono1


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The Top 5 Reasons Why We Chose To Homeschool

By now, I hope you have read my 3 flashback posts.  This is going to be super confusing if you skipped those!

Click here to read part 1.

Click here to read part 2.

Click here to read part 3.

With my son away at college and armed with the new information about my two daughters, I started on a quest to find the best academic fit for my girls.  I Googled and read and emailed and contacted and toured and applied and did so many things…

Nothing was the right fit.

Enter HOMESCHOOL!

I won’t bore you with all of my thoughts, but homeschooling became the obvious option for our family.

This new adventure began in the fall of 2012 for my youngest daughter and in the fall of 2013, my other daughter joined us at home, too.

Hundreds of reasons came clearly into view once we researched what homeschooling is all about and once we started on this homeschooling journey, a million more became evident.

Here are the 5 BIG reasons we love homeschooling our profoundly gifted daughters:

 

1. Freedom to do education our way

Probably one of the most popular reasons to homeschool is the freedom our country gives parents to educate their children in a way that fits each unique family.

Yes, homeschooling is illegal in some countries, like Germany, and each state in the United States has its own laws to govern home education.

For my family, this freedom allows my daughters to both be enrolled in college and still study spelling, history and writing at home.  We have the freedom to learn 4 years of math in 6 months…and yes, that happened.

There isn’t a public or private school out there that can meet the asynchronous academic needs of my daughters, hence the need to homeschool in the first place.

We can educated as quickly or as slowly as needed.

And, we always educate for mastery, not completion.

Yes, my daughters are in college.  They started taking classes when they were 10 and 12.

 

2. Freedom of expression

I get it. My kids are unusual. I have working eyeballs and mommy friends and an active Facebook account…I see the way kids dress and the activities they enjoy doing with their friends.

My 12 year old runs her own charity and wants to open an orphanage.  She is a 2nd degree black belt, a master speller and is a reading machine.  The 11 year old loves Johnny Cash, Elvis, bones, primitive tools, dissections, oddities, conjoined twins and sign language. She wants to be a gynecologist.

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Not typical.

Got it.

My girls can be themselves without people constantly telling them how “weird” they appear…though it still happens once in awhile, the negativity does not consume them on a daily basis and I think it gives them each a chance to be comfortable in their originality and confident enough to withstand the occasional teasing.

3. Freedom to live anywhere

A year after we started our homeschooling journey, I realized we could live anywhere.  School district boundaries no longer decided where our home needed to be built.

We moved to 5.5 acres so our girls could run and play and dig and go on adventures and just be outside!

Nature tends to calm the anxiety and frustrations of our youngest daughter and it is a peaceful environment for all of us!

 

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4.  Freedom to explore interests

My oldest daughter loves marine biology.  My youngest daughter is passionate about American Sign Language.  Neither one of those subjects are taught in traditional public or private schools.

Homeschooling gives my girls the freedom to explore, study, research and enjoy whatever interests they choose to pursue–for as long as they wish.

It also gives me the freedom to pick and choose knowledgeable teachers to teach those different subjects.

 

5.  Freedom to travel and learn “in person”

Ok, let me just say this now–NO, we did not choose to homeschool because we can travel to Walt Disney World whenever we want (preferably when the crowd levels are low).

BUT, it is a delightful perk of homeschooling!  LOL!

Now that my daughters are both taking college classes, our travel options are not as open as they once were…however, my girls prefer to learn “in person”.

What does “in person” mean?

Hands on projects, experiencing academics–not just reading from a textbook.

We visit so many museums, experience so many cool adventures and focus on experiencing the learning process.  Just wait for those review posts to start popping up!

We never read about something in a textbook and take a test the next day.

My girls want to build and create and be active learners–and I love the challenge of discovering how to make that happen– homeschooling provides the option to do just that.

That is why I am obsessed with museums.  Click here to read a review of our favorite museum in Oklahoma!

 

So, now you know all about my little family.

I hope my honestly didn’t cause all of you to run for the hills.