Askinosie Chocolate Factory Tour

I recently found out about this neat chocolate factory tour, and wanted to take the kids. Since the weather has been pretty cold lately, I felt like we needed to get out of the house for a few hours, so we hopped in the car and headed towards Springfield, MO. I was pretty bummed to find out once I got there the GoPro was dead… so I managed to get a few iPhone pics instead.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetThe Askinosie Chocolate Tour was pretty awesome. It’s located in downtown Springfield, a place they are trying to help revitalize. The founder, Steve Askinosie, sold his first candy bar in 2007. Since then he’s been creating chocolate bars and they are sold online and throughout 700 stores.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetOne thing I highly enjoyed and connected with was how the company cares about its farmers, and its community. They are a small company of about 15 employees, yet they give so much back. They have a great working relationship with a local homeless and women’s shelter. The women from the shelter actually tear down the burlap bags that the beans are shipped in to reuse for packaging. They are all about reusing, reducing, and helping others. An awesome message that was an added bonus because I didn’t know any of this until we took the tour!

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetLocal Springfield community high schoolers are able to be a part of Chocolate University, the company chooses 14 students each year to travel with Steve Askinosie to one of the farms and learn all about being an entrepreneur, local culture, and the business of chocolate. Talk about an amazing experience!

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetThe kids really had a fun time; they have been talking about this morning to their cousins.. how they gets beans from farmers to make chocolate.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetAll three chose their favorite candy bar afterwards to enjoy later. Both Turner and Caden chose White Chocolate and Lilly chose a special bar for the holidays: Pumpkin Spice White Chocolate, which she says tastes exactly like pumpkin pie. The White Chocolate was by far the best, I think… but I’m not a dark chocolate fan.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetIf you are ever in the area, I highly recommend the tour, just a bit of warning…. stay away from the cocoa nibs!

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It’s That Time of Year…. the Pumpkin Patch

This year our family decided to be somewhat crazy and drive a little over an hour away for our pumpkin patch adventure. As we drove up to Rutledge-Wilson Farm, I already knew it was going to be amazing. It’s was the most beautiful farm/pumpkin patch we been to. If you are ever in the area, with younger (elementary aged) children, I highly recommend it.

Everyone had a great time. We spent a little over 2 hours here then went to one of our favorite places to eat afterwards: Texas Roadhouse.

Enough with the reading already, if you want to see what goes on at the Farm, then watch the video 🙂

Oh, and the cow train was a definite favorite, they go fast!  No lawn mowers here!

Springfield MO Discovery Center

We visited the Springfield, MO Discovery Center a few days ago during free admission day.

The kids had a really good time. Turner really seemed to be into understanding why or how things work.

Lilly’s favorite part was walking through the dark room with ‘stars’ and spinning with her brother.

They both eagerly want to go back, however, honestly, I’m not sure I would ever pay the full admission price. They have increased the prices in the last few years to $10 for adults. It just doesn’t seem worth it to me. By time I take my family, I’m spending around $40 to walk in the door.

It was a good time, but it also seemed like some of the exhibits could be more exciting and kept up better. I was very disappointed in the Culture/Regions of the World area. Things seemed dirty and a lot was missing. They really need to invest in this area, an entire revamp would be more like it.

There were areas designated for younger kids, but honestly I think kids 6 and up benefit the most, and if you take the time to read the signs you can learn a lot.

All video was shot using our new GoPro Hero 3+.  It’s amazing and a wonderful purchase, I highly recommend.