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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100 Experience Adventures–February Summary

WOW!  What a fascinating adventure all ready!

In just 2 short months, we completed a whopping 30 exciting and educational experiences!

THIRTY!

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When I look back on each experience, I am so very grateful my girls have this awesome, once-in-a-lifetime chance to grow and learn and expand their understanding of our world.  And, I have the privilege of sitting in the front row to watch it unfold. 🙂

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Here is a complete list of the 12 adventures (#19 through #30) we enjoyed during the month of February!  Click on each link to read a summary and honest review, as well as personal and educational tips for each experience!  Let me know if you have any specific questions–always happy to help.  🙂

Experience 19:

The Blue Man Group in Orlando, Florida

Experience 20:

Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida

Experience 21:

The Carlisle Ice Art Fest 

Experience 22:

The State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, PA

Experience 23:

Our First Hike on the Appalachian Trail 

Experience 24:

A Tour of the Harley Davidson Factory in York, Pennsylvania 

Experience 25:

The Wilbur Chocolate Store and Museum in Lititz, Pennsylvania

Experience 26:

A Tour of Julius Sturgis Pretzel in Lititz, Pennsylvania

Experience 27:

Recycled Sari Flower Making Artisan Class in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania

Experience 28:

A Dinner Lit Only By Firelight at The Accomac in York, Pennsylvania 

Experience 29:

A Concert by The Diva Jazz Orchestra

Experience 30:

Film Screening of The Girls in the Band and a Panel Discussion with Diva

 

For a list (with clickable links to all cool places!) of #1 through #18 events from January, click here!

More to come–March has been a super busy and educational month!

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Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery Tour in Lititz, PA–Experience Adventure 26 of 100

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Dang, the pretzels up in Pennsylvania taste heavenly.

For real.

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Beautiful and golden, with just a slight outside crunch and a warm, soft, bread-like center, topped with a tiny tang of salt…yummmmmy!

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Fun Fact:  The state of Pennsylvania produces a staggering 80% of the nation’s hard pretzels!

Why???

The Palantine Germans brought soft pretzels and pretzel recipes to America in 1710.  And where did these people settle?  That’s right!  Pennsylvania.  Today, we call these pretzel-bearing geniuses the “Pennsylvania Dutch”.

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Though several PA pretzel makers and companies offer tours, we decided to visit the FIRST commercial pretzel bakery in America–to see where it all began!

Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery

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Our 26th of 100 adventures!

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In 1861, Mr. Julius Sturgis built the original ovens for his pretzel bakery in a 77 year-old building located in Lititz, Pennsylvania.  Today, pretzel lovers, visitors and crazy homeschooling families on sabbatical (like us!) can visit the site, which is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

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The interesting, 30 minute tour includes the history of pretzel making and baking, a hands-on pretzel twisting class and a quick tour of the original bakery, ovens and equipment.

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We twisted some impressive pretzels!

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Visitors also learn about the evolution of machinery used by the company and as a small treat, receive a bag of hard pretzels at the conclusion of the tour.

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Guests can watch large, soft pretzels being made onsite!  ***The company still uses the same recipe from 1861!  AMAZING!

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The shop offers quite a bit of historical information, relics and museum-worthy exhibits, too!

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All kinds of yummy flavored hard pretzels, souvenirs and hot, fresh soft pretzels can be purchased in the front gift shop, separate from the tour.  But, take the tour!  (And then shop!)

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This tour offered all my favs:  an interesting history, a knowledgeable and entertaining guide, original relics, a hands-on activity and FREE snacks at the end!!  Certainly an excellent way to learn about the history of pretzel making and the Julius Sturgis Pretzel company.  A++

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Put this tour on your list of “must-do adventures” during your next visit to Lititz, Pennsylvania!  We loved it!

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Julius Sturgis Pretzel is located at 219 East Main Street, Lititz, Pennsylvania, 17543.

Tours are offered Monday-Saturday, 9:30 am until 4:30 pm.

Prices:

Child: $2.75

Ages 13+:  $3.75

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The store is open 9:00 am until 5:00 pm.  Closed on Sunday and some holidays.

For more information, call 717-626-4354 or visit www.juliussturgis.com

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Looking for other things to do in Pennsylvania?

Check out Wilbur Chocolates–right down the road from Julius Sturgis!  Click here for more info!

Don’t miss this awesome museum:  The National Watch and Clock Museum

Interested in the Appalachian Trail?  Read about our first hike here!

Check out the State Museum of Pennsylvania here!

If you find yourself in Lancaster, PA, click on the titles and check these places out!

The Lancaster Sweet Shoppe

Lancaster Central Market

Beiler’s Doughnuts

 

 


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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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BIG changes! BIG adventures!

It has certainly been awhile since I have had anything worthy of posting in this blog.  I spent the last summer and fall semester shuttling my daughters back and forth to college and taekwondo, with not much time for anything else.

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Hurricane Harvey left behind complete devastation in Houston and the surrounding areas, but we were fortunate enough to only have flooding on our land and no damage to our home.  We were, however, in the beginning stages of some home renovations, so that put a kink in the scheduling logistics.

The extensive time I willingly dedicate to my children’s schedules and our extreme way of life is always time well spent, but the last 6 months drained my reserves and left my heart aching for an escape.

That crazy season has finally come to an end (for now) and a new adventure is on the snowy, and very chilly horizon!  My husband was offered and snagged one of the last available in-residency spots at the Army War College.  (He was enrolled in the online program when he received the call.)

My husband is super cool.

Located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, the Army War College is a masters degree program for senior military leaders and International Fellow students and is a year long commitment.

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My awesome husband moved to PA and entered the Army War College in the summer of 2017, while I stayed behind and continued homeschooling and supporting our daughters.  The girls were already registered for fall college classes in Texas and we decided to stick to that commitment.

–Cue the time for home renovations, Harvey survival-mode and a stressed-out momma lifestyle.

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So, now that the fall semester, Christmas and New Years fun are all in the past, what is next for our extraordinary family?

I am glad you asked.

My daughters and I decided to join my husband in Carlisle for a 6 month sabbatical–an educational journey like no workbook or classroom can provide!

Our goal is to participate in 100 educational experiences–visiting museums, monuments, classes, tours, festivals and all kind of events.

That’s right.  I said 100.  

100

It might be a lofty goal, but guess what?!?  We have nothing but time–time and an intense desire to accumulate knowledge.

OH!  And did I mention, there will be a Walt Disney World vacation thrown in the mix, too?  Well, of course there will!  DUH!  Would you expect anything less from me?!?

So…hold on tight my friends–we are taking you along for the ride!  I plan to blog about ALL 100 of our excursions and adventures and you get to experience the evolution of our homeschooling journey as it unfolds.

Stay tuned!  We are just getting started!

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If you aren’t familiar with my family, feel free to read about our extraordinary journey here.  And here.  And here.