Craving Dole Whip

Disney & museum obsessed, homeschooling mom of 3, parenting to focus on experiences, not possessions. Sharing Disney tips, educational adventures and a few reviews. Constantly craving Dole Whip.


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The Birth Of A Homeschool Guru

I wrote 3 very long (sorry!) and candid “flashback” postings last year, detailing the process of the beginning of my family’s unique journey. This week, I re-shared those honest posts and got a TON of traffic and feedback. Thank you everyone!

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Today, I looked through those entries and decided to tell the rest of the story.

So…here you go! Better grab some coffee and a muffin. (Or tea and some Milk Duds!)

This is going to take a minute.

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After my two daughters took the full scale IQ tests, we FINALLY knew the reasons for our extreme home-life. My girls NEEDED to learn.

NOW.

It isn’t like we never taught them stuff before. We ALWAYS read to our children. Offered workbooks in the summer, bought all of the “Little Einstein” videos and music CD’s, encouraged a “tinkering” mindset., limited time in front of the TV, etc. The problem was…the environment, the offerings, the access, the amount and the pace…It was just not enough…

As I mentioned before, over-excitabilities come with the gifted territory–even more pronounced and severe in the profoundly gifted individual. I have two of those living in my house and they experience our world in a way that is foreign and strange to me–and that will never EVER change.

How did I even start to bridge the obvious gap?

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I started where most desperate parents begin–looking and searching for the “right” academic fit for my kids (specifically my youngest daughter). The psychologist who administered the full scale IQ tests suggested a visit to an unique school in Houston–a school designed to accommodate the varying and accelerated needs of gifted children.

Wasting no time, I immediately made the appointment for a tour. My youngest daughter skipped her public school kindergarten to experience one day at the gifted school. That afternoon, the head of the gifted school pulled me into his office. Of course, I felt that all-to-familiar fear that my daughter’s behavior somehow tarnished her visit.

Nope. Wrong again, hyper-vigilant mom.

I am wrong a lot.

Let me tell you, it is SUPER difficult to be the dumbest person in your own home. And… I am not just saying that so everyone messages me and tells me that I am smart, too. Nope. It is a proven fact that I fall to the bottom of the intelligence totem pole in this family. I have the scores to prove it. LOL.

Anyway, the head of school proceeded to show me a few scores from other enrolled students. By this time in my journey, I only knew a few things about the gifted world. But, I DID know enough to understand our interaction and to deduce what he was trying to explain without making it too obvious. This “gifted” school could not help my daughter.

A super quickie tutorial:

Human intelligence exists on a bell curve–yep–just like the one you wished your college professor put into place for each exam.

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About 95% of the world’s population operates within the range of 70 to 130. 100 is considered an average IQ.

***Please understand that several intelligence tests only evaluate certain traits–and each test has a different score ceiling. For example, one test might not allow testers to achieve anything higher than 150. Another test might go as high as 200. So, the IQ number itself is not as important as the percentage. The percentage ceiling for any test is 99.9%. But, for simplicity, I am using this number scenario.

125 to 130 is the typical threshold for a public school gifted program. The average score accepted by Mensa is between 130 and 132–Again, it depends on which test was taken. A score in this range represents about 4% of our population and the same can be said of the opposite side of the bell curve–about 4% of our population falls beneath an IQ of 70.

As the bell curve travels further from the middle (or average), the percentages get smaller and smaller…until you reach the super far left or super far right. Once IQ range hits 145, the percentage is already hovering around .1% of the world’s population. That is a very small number of people.

My two daughters fall in that tiny .1% because they both scored in the 99.9% on a full-scale test.

So…when that man at the gifted school in Houston showed me the scores of other enrolled students, it was his not-so-obvious way to “tell” me that my daughter would not find her people at his school. She received an official acceptance into the establishment, but there were no “.1%-ers” there.

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I left his office and cried the super ugly cry in my car for about an hour.

And cried on and off again for several more days.

Here is where this post gets real people. Real and honest and hard to admit…

Like allllllllllll people, I tend to form opinions about topics that I have little to no actual or direct experience or knowledge. It is a not-so-popular thing to admit, but we ALL do it. **Everyone has an opinion about the military, but the percentage of soldiers and their families in the general population is actually quite small. Do you have an opinion about teen pregnancy??? How many of you have gone through that? Everyone has an opinion about divorce…but not everyone has suffered through the devastation of a cheating spouse.

Everyone has an opinion about everything. It is just the way the human brain works.

So, along those lines…I formed an opinion about homeschooling. I had VERY LITTLE personal experience with educational options outside of the public school system. My son attended a traditional school, K-12, and I was an art teacher for 7 years–all public school background. I saw students pulled from school by angry parents and then witnessed the same (and exhausted) parents return those students several months later–usually to the determent of that child.

I lectured friends about the downsides to homeschooling. (sorry Kim!) I made faces when homeschooling was mentioned in conversations. I was not a fan. Not a supporter. No way. Nopers. Just no.

Be careful what you joke about and be SUPER careful when you form opinions about topics you have no direct, personal experience…it will come back to bite you in the self-righteous butt.

I speak from experience.

Life sure is funny sometimes, right?

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Faced with no viable educational options for our youngest daughter, I started researching ‘homeschool’. (YIKES!) Watch me swallow this huge pill.

By the end of my daughter’s kindergarten year, I knew I was going to educate her at home. I contacted every homeschooling parent I knew (which was only 3 at that time!) and I asked a million silly questions–I didn’t know what I didn’t know, you know?!? 🙂

I bought books and read anything I could find on home education and parenting gifted individuals. I wanted to know about the various learning styles and differentiating curriculum. I poured over studies about academic acceleration and extreme academic acceleration–highlighting, underlining and dog-earing everything I found relevant.

If I was going to be solely responsible for educating my daughter, I wanted to do it right.

And, homeschooling offered the freedom for my daughter to pursue specialized interests–like American Sign Language and chemistry–when she was 6 years old.

My next mission was to find someone willing to teach her those things–because I knew NOTHING about those subjects. It did not take me long to realize that our “homeschool” would not take place at home. My daughter did not need ME to teach her–she needed me to become an expert researcher and fierce advocate for extreme acceleration.

My journey was just beginning.

I will write more soon, friends. 🙂

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If you missed it, read about my family in these flashback postings:

Flashback 1

Flashback 2

Flashback 3

Why do we homeschool? Read the top 5 reasons here!

5 surprises about my life with profoundly gifted children–read this.

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The State Museum of Pennsylvania–Experience Adventure 22 of 100

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On Valentine’s Day of 2018, and for our 22nd of 100 adventures, my daughters and I spent the day exploring the remarkable State Museum of Pennsylvania.  Established in 1905 and adjacent to the breathtaking and beautiful State Capitol Building, the historical institution is the commonwealth’s official museum located in the state’s important capital city of Harrisburg.

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The museum takes visitors through a full range of fascinating regional history, focusing on Pennsylvania’s multi-faceted culture and prominent figures, beginning with prehistoric geology and archeological exhibits and continuing to present time pop culture influences and art showcases.

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Four impressive exhibit floors and a full-dome planetarium chronologically organize and display over 3 million items in the museum’s expansive collection.

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Interesting and permanent exhibit halls include Life Through Time, Geology, Mammals, Ecology, a Memorial Hall dedicated to William Penn, and Objects of Valor, which features Civil War artifacts.

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**Fun Fact:  Pennsylvania was named by King Charles II, who took the Penn family name and combined it with the Latin word “silva”, which means “woods”.

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The Memorial Hall features an enormous mural, state map, and a monumental bronze statue of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania.

**Fun Fact:  William Penn’s forward-thinking policy of religious tolerance and acceptance created a diverse religious and ethnic culture in the state of Pennsylvania.

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My daughters and I spent most of our time in the noteworthy exhibits of Pennsylvania Icons, Village Square, the Anthropology and Archeology Gallery, and the Transportation and Industry hall.

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**Fun Fact:  Pennsylvania is the nation’s #1 producer of mushrooms, #2 producer of apples and ranks 3rd for eggs and Christmas trees!

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**Fun Fact:  Pennsylvania produces 80% of the nation’s hard pretzels.

More than 350 unusual and thought-provoking items fill the Pennsylvania Icons hall, where visitors learn about the national influence of Pennsylvania’s unique places, people and products.

 

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**Fun Fact:  20% of the United States’ production of craft beer is produced in Pennsylvania.

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True-to-life historical facades, buildings, a summer kitchen and a general store represent a 19th century Pennsylvania town in the walk-through Village Square Hall.  I wanted to find some hands-on activities, but unfortunately, this is a purely visual exhibit.

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The creation and historical significance of the Pennsylvania Turnpike is thoroughly explored within the Transportation and Industry hall.  Focusing on the tools, vehicles and the history of innovative machines, the exhibit gives viewers a fantastic and engaging glimpse into transportation industry and commerce.

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**Fun Fact:  In October of 1940, the nations first modern superhighway birthed a new interest in cross-country travel for post-WWII Americans.  That superhighway is the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Native American artifacts and archeological methods are explored in great detail inside the Anthropology and Archeology Gallery.

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**Fun Fact:  The Meadowcroft Rockshelter, located near Avella in Washington County, Pennsylvania, boasts the earliest signs of human habitation in North America and has been continually inhabited for the past 19,000 years.

As a lover of the visual arts, we greatly enjoyed the engaging, rotating art exhibit, which featured unique art pieces bought and acquired by the museum through the years.

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Overall, we found The State Museum of Pennsylvania educational, interesting and thought-provoking.  It was clean, well organized, thorough, and visually stimulating.  Of course, I prefer a hands-on approach and appreciate exhibits with interactive components, but the museum’s extensive collection makes up for its lack of experiential learning.  My daughters and I left with massive amounts of new and relevant Pennsylvania state knowledge and a greater historical understanding of our nation.

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Kudos to The State Museum of Pennsylvania.  As a museum-obsessed, homeschooling mom, I give it a “B++”!

Hours of operation:  Wed-Sat 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday 12:00 to 5:00 pm.

Please note:  The museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Adults:  $7.00

Children ages 1-11 years:  $5.00

The museum is FREE for military members and military families with ID’s.  THANK YOU!

The State Museum of Pennsylvania is located at 300 North Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 17120.  For more information, call 717-787-4980 or visit www.statemuseumpa.org.

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For some other fun and educational adventures in the great state of Pennsylvania, check out:

The Turkey Hill Experience

George’s Furniture

The Pennsylvania Farm Show

The National Watch and Clock Museum

The Lancaster Central Market

 

 

 


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100 Experience Adventures–January Summary

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By now, most of my readers know that my daughters and I are attempting to complete 100 experiences during our 6 month sabbatical away from our home in Texas.

For newbies, click here.

And read this.

I am super happy to report we surprisingly completed 18 awesome experiences during the month of January and I kept a running list of the events and the cost for reference.

Below is a quick summary and each one is a clickable link to more information about the experience, in case you are curious. 🙂

Experience 1:

The Pennsylvania Farm Show (Free to attend, $15 for parking)

Experience 2:

George’s Furniture in Marietta, PA (Free to visit, we donated $20 for the personal tour)

Experience 3:

Cinnaholic, Vegan cinnamon rolls in Lancaster, PA ($28.04 for four cinnamon rolls)

Experience 4:

The National Watch & Clock Museum in Columbia, PA ($8.40 for four tickets through Groupon)

Experience 5:

The Turkey Hill Experience in Columbia, PA ($45.75 for three people to attend the lab class and the experience)

Experience 6:

Burning Bridge Antiques Market in Columbia, PA (free to visit)

Experience 7:

The Lancaster Sweet Shoppe and Stroopie Co. in Lancaster, PA (free to visit)

Experience 8:

Lancaster Central Market in Lancaster, PA (free to visit)

Experience 9:

Beiler’s Doughnuts in Lancaster, PA ($11.25 for 2 dozen doughnuts through Groupon)

Experience 10:

Sledding in real snow in Carlisle, PA (free!)

Experience 11:

Maymont in Richmond, Virginia ($12 for three tickets to the nature center and $15 “donation” for three people to tour the mansion)

Experience 12:

The Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia ($24 for three tickets)

Experience 13:

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, VA (free for military families, $10 for the audio tour for two people)

Experience 14:

The Prohibition Museum in Savannah, Georgia ($32.10 for three tickets)

Experience 15:

The Museum of Science and History (The MOSH) in Jacksonville, Florida ($30 for three tickets)

Experience 16:

Hunting for fossilized sharks teeth in Nokomis Beach, Florida (free)

Experience 17:

Artisanal Spice Artistry Workshop at the International Festival of the Arts in Epcot, Walt Disney World ($166.16 for four tickets)

Experience 18:

Disney After Hours event at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World ($476 for four tickets)

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What is next?!?

Many more adventures to explore in the month of February!


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The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts–Experience Adventure 13 of 100

My daughters and I spent a wonderful, art-centric day with my cousin and her son at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, our 13th of 100 experience adventures.

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My beautiful cousin  (Her mom and my dad are siblings.)

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My cousin’s son and my daughters (Does that make them 2nd cousins or cousins once removed?!?  I can never remember!)  LOL

 

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is located in the historic city of Richmond, Virginia.  Like most art museums in larger cities, the VMFA exhibits overflow with artwork from around the globe.  However, the interesting architecture of the VMFA building and the breathtaking outdoor sculpture garden make this art destination exceptionally special.

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It certainly helped that we visited on a gorgeous day, but the grounds of the museum begged us to stay outside just a little longer.  What a wonderful park and public space for the citizens of Richmond!

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My daughters and I are always excited to find an unexpected Chihuly sculpture!

The COOLEST thing about the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (besides the awesome Robins Sculpture Garden) is that general admission is FREE.  Yep, FREE.  This includes ALL permanent exhibits and most collections.  Traveling exhibits and special engagements might cost a little, but seriously…FREE general admission…that is AMAZING.  I visit a TON of art museums–I cannot recall any of them being free to the public.  VMFA, you ROCK!  (And thank you!)

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With over 35,000 pieces of art that represent almost every major culture, The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts offers visitors a thorough and immersive art history experience.

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We greatly enjoyed the American Art and Early 20th Century European Art halls, as well as the Faberge and Russian Decorative Arts collection.  My daughters love Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Comfort Tiffany and were excited to find several pieces in the Decorative Arts After 1890 hall.

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One of our favorite traveling exhibits is secretly following our homeschool journey–we have accidently experienced it at THREE different locations in THREE different states. What are the chances?!?

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When I noticed it on the VMFA website before our visit, I laughed to myself and originally planned to skip it (since we have seen it twice already).  But when we arrived, the helpful information desk told me this special exhibit was free for military families.

WHAT?!?

Ok…you twisted my arm…we will enjoy it for the third time!  Honestly folks…it is AMAZING and quite an unbelievable archeological find and can we really see it too many times???  Apparently not.  🙂

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Put the Terracotta Army:  Legacy of the Frist Emperor of China on your bucket list.  It is featured at the VMFA until March 11, 2018, and might be near you at a later date.  Who knows…maybe we will be lucky enough to see it for a 4th time some day!  HA!

 

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The museum boasts two on-site restaurants and we enjoyed a delicious, fine dining lunch at Amuse, which features fresh, local ingredients and beautiful views of the sculpture garden.  Best Café, offering a more casual menu, overlooks the reflecting pool.

General admission is FREE (Yippeeee!) and the museum is open all 365 days of the year.  That is FABULOUS!

Hours:  10:00 am -5:00 pm and open until 9:00 pm on Thursdays and Fridays.  Parking for non-members is $5.

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is located at 200 N. Boulevard, Richmond, Virginia, 23220.  For more information, call 804-340-1450, 804-340-1400 or visit www.vmfa.museum

Online museum gallery map and gallery activities (homeschool goodies!) Click here!

Our day ended with a fantastic, personal tour of my cousin’s pre-Civil War home, where I saw a new-to-me picture of my grandparents, who left this world long before I was an adult.

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Kind of an amazing day.  After we said goodbye to my gracious cousin and her family, my daughters and I continued our journey south.

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Want another cool thing to do in Richmond, Virginia?  Read this!

How about Edgar Allan Poe?  Yep, everyone loves his work AND there is a Poe Museum in Richmond!  So cool!  Click here.

Do you love Dale Chihuly too?  Check this out!

Glass blowing on your bucket list?  Read this!

Are you a Salvador Dali fan?  Click here


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An Epic Road Trip!

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Switch those babies around…and tell them to stop growing up!

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Tomorrow morning, my daughters and I are embarking on an EPIC, 3 week-long road trip that will include all kinds of adventure experiences!  I plan to blog about each one as soon as life allows and hopefully I stay on top of my writing while we travel.  But, I wanted to give you all the heads up just incase I fall behind.  🙂

I am sure you are all on the edge of your seats…

Anyway, I thought I would take the time to answer the most frequently asked question about this 6 month hiatus:

“Are your kids doing school?”

Um…yes…

DUH.

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Our “classroom” bookcase in our Pennsylvania apartment

Both of my daughters are currently taking an online high school US history class (Prehistory-Civil War) and my oldest daughter is also in an online Malaysian history/culture class.

We brought their high school critical thinking math books and they are completing 2-4 pages a day.

My girls each work through several books of English curriculum with focuses on vocabulary, writing, editing and grammar.  Those books highlight word roots, origins, and language mechanics.

They read.  And read.  And read.

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I also planned several unit studies centered around topics I researched specifically for this sabbatical:  Edgar Allan Poe, the Amish culture, Lewis and Clark, the Civil War, the Revolutionary War, Pay It Forward, The Giver, refugees, social enterprise, the history of Hershey, US government and the Appalachian Trail.

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Unit studies involve reading, project-based assignments, “field trips”, hands-on activities, writing, documentaries, relevant movies and games.

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At least once a week (sometimes twice), each daughter chooses a recipe from one of our vegan cookbooks and creates/cooks one meal for everyone–while being mindful of likes, dislikes, etc.  They clean the kitchen, too!  🙂

My youngest daughter practices her American Sign Language skills by making videos of her experiences and keeping in contact with her Deaf ASL professor and college peers.

We exercise 5-7 days a week, usually at the apartment gym.  When we return from our 3 week road trip, the girls will start training and conditioning in TaeKwonDo.  I plan to start yoga!

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Because we all love art–drawing, creating, and building–these are constants in our family.

And, of course, our attempt to complete 100 experience adventures provides my daughters with the best kind of education–real, experiential, holistic, useful, and practical.

 

So, yes…my kids are doing “school”–don’t worry.  LOL.

To read about a few of our adventures, click here and here and here.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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The Lancaster Sweet Shoppe and Stroopie Co.–Experience Adventure 7 of 100

I love to plant seeds.  Literally and figuratively.  The process of tending to a tiny treasure, watching it develop, grow and evolve, patiently waiting and working towards the moment when it transitions into what it was always meant to become–I find this metamorphosis fascinating and fulfilling–the fundamental process of my gardening, parenting and choosing to homeschool.

I love when one life experience leads to another journey which then plants a seed that leads to research which evolves into passion and results in action.  Essentially, this is why I do what I do and why I created this goal of 100 experience adventures for my two daughters.  The figurative “seeds” planted by this journey, might develop into something spectacular someday.  I just need to be patient.  Plant the seeds.  Tend to my tiny treasures.

This particular experience, 7 of 100, represents one of those seeds.

We met a lot of passionate people when visiting the Pennsylvania Farm Show last Saturday. (Read about that experience here.)  While walking through a crowded aisle of vendors, we sampled chips, dips, pickles, cheese and ghee, but the booth that grabbed my attention was the Stroopie Co.  As the woman handed me a sample of a freshly made Dutch Stroopwafel, she mentioned an interesting fact about her company–they hire and provide meaningful employment for refugee women.  I immediately asked her if she offered tours and she gave me a card so I could send an email to set something up.

For our 7th of 100 experience adventures, my daughters and I drove to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to visit the Lancaster Sweet Shoppe.

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The Lancaster Sweet Shoppe is an adorable and delightful place where the fresh goodies of three local treat makers–Groff’s Candies, Pine View Dairy Ice Cream and Stroopies–can be discovered (and eaten!)

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Established in 2008, the Stroopie Co.’s mission sparks social change, the fundamental backbone of the company.  As well as making delicious, high quality cookies, the company exists to support and hire refugee women who, after fleeing their homes in countries ravaged by war, natural disasters, poverty and uncertainty, find a safe haven and a chance to start over in Lancaster.

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World-wide, 60 million refugees are forced to flee their homelands and each year, the city of Lancaster invites approximately 1,000 of these humans to re-establish and begin a new life in Pennsylvania.  Before settling in a new city, some refugees endure living in refugee camps for 12 to 15 years.

Many refugees experience difficult challenges, painful tragedies and separation from family.  In a new country, the process of trying to find work proves problematic due to language and cultural barriers.

Husband and wife team, Jonathan and Jennie Groff, became co-owners of the Stroopie Co. in 2010.  Their focus on social impact centers around providing meaningful employment for refugee women (and creating an uber delicious cookie!).

**Fun Fact:  The refugees are taught English by a certified ESL teacher.

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The gracious Jennie met with me and my daughters for almost two hours on the day we visited the candy shop.  (She is also the woman who handed me the Stroopie sample at the Farm Show.)  Immediately, Jennie’s dedication and passion for refugees and her love of all people shines through her peaceful and welcoming personality.

She is delightful.  Her genuine and honest charisma generated a magnetism–and without sounding too weird–I really longed to talk to her all day and be her new BFF. LOL.

Friends, this woman is a world-changer.  A mother.  A tranquil soul.  A peaceful warrior.  A seed planter.

She inspires.

I want to be her when I grow up (even though she is younger than me!).  The impact her company makes on this world can never be measured–it has the potential to not just change a few lives, but also to change this world.  Once a human is given the chance to live in a safe environment and the opportunity for meaningful work, the positive ripples continue for generations to come.  The seeds of this business transform lives.

I am reminded of the commonly quoted story of the boy who threw a star fish back into the ocean in the hopes of making a difference–even if that difference was only for one star fish.

Jennie explained that the Stroopie Co.’s dedication to social impact and public transparency practices opened the door for the company to become a Certified B Corporation.  A Certified B Corporation (“B” stands for “Benefit”) focuses on the human side of business–measuring what truly matters–social and environmental responsibility, legal accountability and the innovation to solve social and environmental problems.

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Jennie also gave us free Stroopies.  THANK YOU, JENNIE!

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Small batches of Stroopies are made fresh daily on site by the Stroopie Co. , in a cozy and modest kitchen space in the back of the candy shop.  A mix of local flour, eggs and cinnamon create the dough and creamy, homemade caramel turns and blends in a large, electrical vat.

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An exposed work space and viewing area allows visitors to watch each Stroopie travel from raw dough to completed product.  Four dollops of Stroopie dough are placed in a waffle iron for about one minute.

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Stroopie cookie in raw dough form

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4 dollops of Stroopie dough on the waffle iron

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2 waffle irons cook the dough for about 1 minute

When the cookie comes out of the waffle iron, it is cut in half and made into a perfect circle.

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**Fun Fact:  Jennie’s husband, Jonathan, designed the machine used to slice and stamp out the perfect circle!

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Then, homemade caramel is hand-spread between the two slices, creating a super yummy Dutch Stroopwafel right in the heart of Lancaster, PA!  Once cooled, some Stroopies are dipped in chocolate and other goodies or served in the original form.  Either way, I have been craving them since we left the shop.

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A deliciously warm Stroopie

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The master Stroopie maker shown in the photos is Mary.  Mary left Myanmar and moved to the United States in 2013.  She began working for the Stroopie Co. in 2015.

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The Lancaster Sweet Shoppe opened this location in 2016, after the Stroopie Co. won The Great Social Enterprise Pitch.  WOW!  That is AWESOME!  (Think ‘Shark Tank’ for local businesses)

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**Fun Fact:  The Stroopie Co. makes 3,000 Stroopies each day!

The Groff’s renovated the once barbershop space into a simply charming, farm-house style, sweets store, which stylistically benefits from Jennie being raised on an 100 acre Mennonite dairy farm.  HGTV should be envious.

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The Lancaster Sweet Shoppe

Jonathan Groff’s parents own Groff’s Candies and the chocolate morsels fill the glass display cases like tiny jewels.

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I love a family-owned business!  I also LOVE the reclaimed wood and white marble!

Pine View Dairy Ice Cream fills the space between the chocolate and the Stroopies production area.

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**Fun Fact:  Stroopies are sold in over 80 local shops and markets!

The relaxing back patio provides a wonderfully fun space to enjoy a warm Stroopie!

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Though the girls and I LOVED the delicious Stroopie cookies and will no doubt return for more, the take-away from our encounter with Jennie Groff was PURE inspiration and motivation.  This company’s innovation and shift toward social progress is creating a revolution of acceptance, diversity and transformation in small business/corporate America.

Since we returned home, the topic of social enterprise and being a mighty tool for social change continuously fills our family discussions.  My daughters are both naturally advocacy-minded, but this experience catapulted their awareness and triggered something that has yet to be realized.

A seed was planted and I look forward to the development and action it might create.

Thank you Jennie and Jonathan for being genuine.  For making a difference.  For generating change.  And, for planting seeds.

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“I am only one; but still I am one.  I can not do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do something I can do.”  Helen Keller

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”   Jane Goodall

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For more information and to order Stroopies online, visit www.stroopies.com

Seriously, order some online.  Now.

The Lancaster Sweet Shoppe is located at 141 N. Duke Street, Lancaster, PA, 17602.  Visit their website at www.lancastersweetshoppe.com or call 717-869-5955.

For more information about B Corps and social enterprise, click here

A video of my daughter signing in ASL about our experience can be found below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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The National Watch & Clock Museum–Experience Adventure 4 of 100

Every day, since we settled in Pennsylvania, I watch the weather like an obsessed meteorologist.  Yesterday was the first day to bring above freezing temperatures and we took that as a sign to get out and do some more exploring!

The relief and freedom I felt while driving without the fear of ice or snow or sleet is indescribable.  Honestly, I enjoyed the drive more than I should–lol–it was absolutely delightful–no clinched teeth or white knuckle hands!

In preparation for our adventure, I visited the website of our #4 stop and printed reading material and vocabulary for my daughters to study several days earlier.  They each highlighted 5 items of interest to find–kind of a self-created scavenger hunt.  I also chose 4 Brain-Pop corresponding videos.  We began our morning by traveling about an hour from Carlisle, to the adorable town of Columbia, Pennsylvania.

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For our 4th experience adventure, let me introduce you to the amazing

National Watch and Clock Museum.

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With over 12,000 items, the National Watch & Clock Museum is the largest and most comprehensive horological collection in North America.  It is a beautifully organized and meticulously curated museum showcasing the history of timekeeping.

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The tour begins with an 8 minute movie featuring a condensed history of time.  From there, the impressive collection includes clocks, watches, tools and other time-related items.  All of the pieces are displayed in a way that allows visitors to immerse themselves in a very personal manner.

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Several interactive stations feature hands-on activities, such as building a large wood clock from block-like pieces, learning to use a water clock, pretending to be a watch maker and many more.  The connections bring the history of time alive.  The museum offers free activity booklets for children, too!

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**Fun Fact:  The National Watch & Clock Museum opened in 1977.

The exhibits range from early sundials and a replica of Stonehenge to modern marvels, such as the atomic and radio-controlled clocks.  A few displays include life-like figures in realistic settings.

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The most interesting exhibit features The Engle Clock.  Nicknamed ‘The Eighth Wonder of the World”, the Engle Clock stands 11 feet tall and 8 feet wide.  It is the first known monumental clock built it in the United States and it was completed in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.

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It took the artist, Stephen D. Engle, 20 years to complete the imposing and ornate time piece.  He worked alone.  With 2 organ movements and 48 impressive moving features, it showcases Jesus, the 12 Apostles, the devil, 3 stages of life, death, justice, Orpheus, and Linus.

**Fun Fact:  The National Watch & Clock Museum competed against the Smithsonian to acquire The Engle Clock.

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The girls and I were lucky enough to be the only patrons in the museum when one of the friendly curators offered to wind up the clock and provide a thorough and interesting lecture, focusing on the history and mechanics of the Engle Clock.  (Side note:  This is one of my favorite homeschooling perks!  We typically only visit museums on a weekday and we have grown so accustomed to the personal attention, we avoid museums on the weekends, like the plague!  I cannot even count how many times my daughters have benefitted from knowledgeable and passionate curators and docents who give a little extra when the crowds are miniscule.  We are always so thankful and grateful.)

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The National Watch & Clock Museum also provides a fun gift shop and an impressive library and research center.

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A great museum features educational hands-on activities that appeal to all ages and offers an organized and complete collection.  In my homeschooling/museum-obsessed eyes, this museum hits all of the marks–excellent displays, friendly staff, and beautiful pieces.  5 stars all around!  The girls and I are already discussing the possibility of a return visit.  It is that good.

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The National Watch & Clock Museum is located at 514 Poplar Street, Columbia, Pennsylvania, 17512-2130.

I bought a Groupon ticket for a family visit for $8.40.

Days of operation and hours vary with the seasons, so for more information, visit www.nawcc.org or call 717-684-8261.

 

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Want to read about our favorite hands-on museum in Oklahoma?  Click here!

Curious about why we homeschool our daughters?  Read this!

Read all about our 3rd of 100 experience adventure here!

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