Happy 7th Birthday, Rachel!

How time flies.  

Here is my baby girl just 4 days old.  It seems like just yesterday.

Today she turns 7 years old!  She has been talking about this birthday for the last 6 months and she is very excited that the day finally arrived!

She had to start the day with presents from us and other family members.

She loves the Goldie Blox building toys.  They encourage her to build fun projects but she can also use the pieces to make her own creations.  This one has a project for making a zoetrope movie machine!

She loves animals but I'm allergic to everything so there are no pets in our home.  But we found these cute little battery operated mice that run through a track.  Stuart helped her put their track and home together.  They even have a little mouse wheel in the house to run on!  They are so cute!

Stuart took a vacation day from work to help celebrate her birthday.  She put on the fanciest dress in her closet and we went to Sara's Donuts for breakfast.  When Sara complimented her on her dress, Rachel informed her that it was her birthday.  Sara gave her two extra special donuts to celebrate!

I love this sweet beautiful girl!

She wanted me to get a picture of her making the number 7!

Grandmother Chance and I both wanted to get Rachel some things from the American Girl doll store.  But when Rachel went through the catalog and circled her favorite things, she came up with just 161 circles.  We asked her to narrow it down and it was still a long list.  So I decided to take her to the American Girl store so she could see the items in person.  Besides, I thought she might have more fun on a mini shopping spree where she got to pick out her gifts herself.

I scoured the internet to try to find if there were ways to save when shopping at American Girl.  I found two great tips!

1.  Costco sells American Girl gift certificates.  You get $100 of gift cards for just $79!  Fortunately we have a Costco membership!

2.  Some American Girl catalogs come with a 20% off coupon and special coupon code on the back.  We checked all of our catalogs but didn't find a coupon or code.  But I posted on my Facebook page to see if anyone had a coupon that they weren't going to use and a friend offered one to me!  The coupon is good for 20% off the total purchase, not just one item like I expected!

I determined that I would be able to combine both deals for a savings of 40%!  We were going to have fun shopping!

This little girl couldn't contain her excitement!

We went looked at every single doll, outfit, and accessory in the store.  We were there several hours but we both had fun playing with the dolls.  What a wonderful store!

I eventually had to drag her out but she ended up with two dolls and some fun items to go with the dolls.  

Tonight we had a party at the theater for the cast of My Son Pinocchio Jr. so she sort of got a party on her birthday.  

She said it was the best birthday ever!

Medieval Times: Joust for the Cure

ALL SEATS $35 With $5 Going Back to Susan G. Komen

$5 of every ticket purchased via www.medievaltimes.com/komendallas  will be donated to Susan G. Komen Dallas®. This $35 offer is valid for any Sunday through Thursday show thru December 31th, 2015. Tickets must be purchased by December 31, 2015. Offer only valid online.

Experience The Excitement of Medieval Times!  A Four-course feast awaits as you watch the pageantry and thrills of an authentic medieval tournament come to life inside the walls of the King’s 11th Century Style Castle.  Six armor-clad Knights of the realm compete in thrilling games on horseback as the pageant unfolds and cheers of the King’s noble guests fill the arena.  Skill and strength are measured in the combat.  Discover which of the Knights shall become champion.

-A hearty four-course meal prepared by His Majesty’s master chefs
-Two hours of action packed live entertainment
-Complimentary Parking

Autumn at the Dallas Arboretum

October is here and the temperatures are finally cooler.  Fall is in the air!

There are lots of pumpkin patches around the Dallas-Fort Worth area at this time of year but our favorite place to visit is the Dallas Arboretum.  

The Arboretum has continued their Texas theme through all of their exhibits this year.  This Texas state mosaic is the perfect fit in their Autumn display.

The Dallas Arboretum is more than just a pumpkin patch.  There are fun things for kids to do and explore and of course, wagons to climb on!

With signs of fall all around, the Arboretum is truly the best place to snap those seasonal family portraits!

My little hams even come up with their own pumpkin poses.

There are an amazing 75,000 pumpkins, gourds, and squash to be seen!  Many of them form adorable buildings in the Pumpkin Village.

We visited the Post Office where we saw these crazy wanted posters!  My kids loved this!

My favorite building was the Sheriff's Office and Jail.  It is made of beautiful Indian Corn!  Each of the buildings have a description posted near it that teaches a little about Texas history.

Somehow my hooligans ended up in the jail house!  But they made a quick escape out the back of the jail and through the hay bale maze.

My son was even inspired to be the photographer for a while.  I love his pictures!

He even had his little sister pose in the carriage for these great shots!

Do you see why I love to take pictures at the Arboretum?  You can't help but take great pictures in such a beautiful place!

I had to steal my camera back to get this shot.

There is a wonderful display that show names of uniquely shaped pumpkins and gourds that is very educational.  My daughter just enjoyed playing with the little gourds and she even found one that looked just like a swan!

My kids rarely stand still and quiet for this long but they do make for some cute scarecrows!

I hope you can take advantage of some of these great discounts and bring your whole family out to enjoy the Arboretum:

$1 off General Garden Admission presented by Tom Thumb:
September 19 - November 25
Tom Thumb offers $1 off general garden admission tickets during Autumn at the Arboretum. Discounted tickets are available for purchase at area Tom Thumb locations.

Buy One, Get One Free (BOGO) Wednesdays:
September 23 - November 25
Buy one, get one free admission. Valid for general garden admission only. Limit one per customer. Tickets can only be purchased onsite.

C.C. Young Senior Thursdays:
September 24 - November19
General admission tickets on these Thursdays are $11 for those 65 and older along with a 20% discount that day at the Hoffman Family Gift Store. Tickets can only be purchased onsite.

September 24, October 22 & November 5, 9 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Presented by C.C. Young, these days feature special activities for the senior community.

State Fair Ticket Holder Discount:
September 28 - October 29 (Mondays - Thursdays Only)
Present an admission ticket stub from the 2015 State Fair of Texas and receive $2 off admission, Mondays through Thursdays.

Red River Shoot Out Week:
October 5 - 9
Wear Texas or OU gear and receive $5 off general admission.

Family Fun Weekend Discount:
October 24 - 25
Fun for the whole family, adults dressed in costumes pay children's admission prices.

Dallas Food Bank Discount:
November 2 - 6
Each can of food brought in is $1 off general admission, up to $5 off. All food will be donated to the North Texas Food Bank.

Veterans Day Discount:
November 11
Any veterans, active duty and first responders with identification receive free admission on Veterans Day. Offer available only on site at the ticket booth.

Reduced Price Parking:
If purchased in advance online, parking is reduced to $8. 

Free Admission for Teachers & Educators:
Complimentary admission to the main garden and Children's Adventure Garden is available to teachers and educators with a valid picture ID at the ticket booth. Educators can also purchase a Dallas Arboretum membership and receive a 10% discount for the first year with their valid ID.

Group Ticket Discount:
Guests receive a reduced price for general garden admission when 15 or more tickets are purchased in one transaction. Tickets must be purchased in advance. For more information regarding discounted tickets for groups 15 or larger, contact groupsales@dallasarboretum.org or 214-515-6520. 

About the Dallas Arboretum:  The Arboretum is located at 8525 Garland Road in Dallas.  Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day).  Regular admissions prices are $15 for adults, $12 seniors, $10 children age 3-12, and free for children 2 and under.  Parking is $15 or you can get a discount online for just $8.  Memberships are available as well as the great discounts listed above.  For more information, please visit the Dallas Arboretum website or follow them on Facebook at Dallas Arboretum or Twitter @dallasarboretum