Friday, September 20, 2019

Autumn at the Arboretum: It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

Autumn at the Arboretum, named one of "The Best Pumpkin Festivals to Visit This Fall," by Martha Stewart Living Magazine.  

We love visiting the Dallas Arboretum in every season of the year but they always have the best pumpkin patch in the DFW Metroplex.  This year the Pumpkin Village is themed "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!".

There are Peanuts characters scattered throughout the pumpkins.

Schroeder listens on as Rachel plays on the giant topiary piano.

Lucy offers garden advice for a nickel.

And of course, Snoopy and Woodstock hang out on the roof of Snoopy's pumpkin topiary house.

The festival features breathtaking colors of fall including 150,000 autumn flowers accented by 90,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash.

I love the beautiful pumpkin topiary houses like this one that are scattered throughout the Village.

The inside of each house is decorated with its own cute Peanuts theme.

While you are exploring, pick out a pumpkin to take home and decorate.

Off to the side of the pumpkin patch is one of the beautiful "Celebrate the Children" sculptures by Gary Lee Price.

Walk along the edge of the Village to learn about all of the different and unique species of pumpkins.  From smooth pumpkins....

to bumpy pumpkins....

to squash and gourds.

About the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden:

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is located on the southeastern shore of White Rock Lake at 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, Texas 75218.  The Dallas Arboretum is also the home of the internationally acclaimed Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden. The Arboretum is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. On-site parking is $15; pre-purchased online parking is $9. For more information, call 214.515.6500 or visit

Friday, April 19, 2019

"Celebrate the Children", Gary Lee Price Bronze Sculpture Exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum

Through October, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden will "Celebrate the Children" through an art exhibition of beautiful, hand-crafted bronze sculptures of children, which are displayed throughout the garden.  The exhibit features more than 25 different, hand-produced, bronze sculptures, many of which are of his own children. The 11-foot sculpture, "Celebration!" features joyous children celebrating life and soaring around the globe. The exhibition encourages guests to revisit childhood memories such as singing Ring-Around-The-Rosie in "Circle of Peace" with five children or playing in the grass near one of the four "Cartwheel" statues. The pieces range from 2 to 7.5 feet tall with one sculpture weighing more than 1,300 lbs.

We enjoyed having the opportunity to hear the artist, Gary Lee Price, speak about how art has been therapeutic for him and how he became inspired to create these beautiful statues.  You can hear a little about his story in this video below:

We had fun exploring the garden looking for all of his statues.  Here are just a few of them we found.

Rachel saw this sweet statue of a mom holding her little girl up in the air.  She laughed and asked me to pick her up like that.  Sorry, baby girl but you are on your own.  I do miss those days when my kids were little enough to hold up in the air like that.  Savor the days, Mama!

Anytime we go to the Arboretum, I always make sure that we spend some time in the Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden.  It is so much fun for kids but there is so much to learn here too!

Speaking of learning, there is a homeschool class coming up next week called Wetlands Biologist: How healthy is our habitat? In this program, students explore our Texas Native Wetlands on our outdoor island classroom. They will collect scientific data by examining live macroinvertebrates using cutting edge scientific tools. Students will then make connections between the living and nonliving parts of the ecosystem to determine the health of our waterway.  The homeschool class is for grades K-6th (ages 5-12).  It takes place on April 22 from 10:00 - 11:00 or 11:15 - 12:15.

As we walked through the garden, Nicholas found this ladybug pupa.  It is kind of like a teen ladybug in that it is not quite fully developed.  I wouldn't have known what it was without its spots!

We spent some time in the lab.  There is currently a great exhibit about the scientist and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt.

He obviously understood the thoughts of homeschool moms around the world when he said this....

Besides the amazing nature items on display, there are also several digital stations with different activities like this Case of the Mysterious Egg in which a strange egg appeared in the nest of an Eastern Phoebe.

She had to review the evidence which included learning about the Eastern Phoebe as well as other types of birds and their egg size in order to determine the species of the mysterious egg.

We wandered about the Children's Garden for quite a while.  We found the petrogylphs.

And we spend time learning about amazing numbers in nature and the Fibonacci spiral.

My kids always enjoy the Pendulum Art station.  They pour sand into the pendulum bucket and then learn about the designs that it creates as it naturally swings back and forth.

Do you know what this cool looking contraption is?

It's a giant kaleidoscope!  You can turn the different discs to change your view in thousands of ways.

I said it earlier but savor the days, mama.  As they get to be teens, it might not be so easy to get them to pose for pictures with you! 

This little sweetheart still loves to pose for me though!

The Dallas Arboretum is the perfect place to get some nice posed pictures of your children and family.  Walk around and explore for just a few minutes and you are bound to find a great backdrop of nature for your pictures.

Rachel was actually just sitting here quietly enjoying the waterfall on her own when I snapped this candid picture.  It's amazing how nature helps to calm children and get them more focused.

We had a wonderful time at our visit to the Dallas Arboretum.  Take a look below at all of the wonderful events coming up over Easter weekend and throughout the spring.

Easter Weekend Activities in Main Garden:

New! Break the World Record for Largest Bunny Hop

Saturday, April 20 |Noon| Jonsson Color Garden

Join WFAA Good Morning Texas reporter and producer, Paige McCoy-Smith, and the Easter Bunny in the garden, and help them attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest bunny hop. All ages are welcome to participate, and the event is free with paid garden admission.

Easter Portraits

Saturday and Sunday, April 20-21 |10 a.m. - 4 p.m.| Jonsson Color Garden

Chris Ivey Photography will be in the garden to take family portraits with a live bunny. Portraits are available to purchase from the photographer.

Easter Brunch

Sunday, April 21| 10:30 a.m. & 12:30 p.m. | Restaurant DeGolyer and Rosine Hall

Get together with family and friends for a picturesque brunch. Enjoy an elaborate menu featuring multiple carving stations and extensive chef antipasto displays. Seating for brunch is at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Reservations are required. To book your reservation, please call 214-515-6511

Artscape Fine Art and Craft Show

Saturday & Sunday, April 27-28, 9 a.m. -5 p.m., Pecan Grove

Artscape, a juried fine art and fine craft show and sale, is where 100 outstanding artists from around the country showcase their art. Artscape features a variety of mediums including painting, sculpture, 2-D and 3-D mixed media, photography, jewelry, glass, digital art, ceramics and more. The layout for the art fair is architect-designed for maximum visibility of artists and audience flow. Visit for more information.

Spring Cool Thursdays Concert Series

Every Thursday through June 27

7:30-9 p.m., Martin Rutchik Concert Stage and Lawn

The premier concert series "Cool Thursdays," sponsored by Wells Fargo, single tickets are available for purchase now at the Dallas Arboretum and feature four new exciting tribute bands. As Dallas' only concert series overlooking the picturesque White Rock Lake on the award-winning Martin Rutchik Concert Stage and Lawn, concert subscriptions and single tickets have a history of selling out quickly. To see concert lineup and purchase tickets, visit

Garden Tea

Daily, April 8-September 21

11 a.m. & 2 p.m.

Enjoy Garden Tea which includes a three-course meal with three different tea options. Teas are available Monday through Friday with seatings at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. for $49 per person, or an additional $10 to add champagne. Reservations are required. Contact 214-515-6511 or email to book a reservation.

A Tasteful Place: To learn more, register for cooking classes and special events, visit

Seasonal Tastings

Every day, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Ruthie Pack's Tasting Plaza

Try three free different samples featuring a weekly vegetable, fruit or herb from the garden. Visit for past, current and future recipes.


Every Monday, 11 a.m.-Noon

Donald and Charlotte Test Pavilion

Participate in this popular demonstration cooking class, taught by Chef Alison Matis from the college's nationally recognized culinary school.

April-Honey Roasted Radishes and Creamy Dilled Green Bean Salad


Presented by: Chef Carol Pock

Saturday, April 20, 11 a.m.-Noon

Donald and Charlotte Test Pavilion

Free with paid garden admission

Join Chef Carol Pock, a Certified Integrated Health Coach, Healthy Living cooking instructor, and Wellness Consultant, demonstrate how to make three different types of deviled egg recipe

Flower Power

A Meditative Walk in the Garden

April 26 * Level 1 * 10:30am-Noon

May 17 * Level 2 * 10:30am-Noon


In the last 30 years, the immediacy of the technology coupled with the "I must have this" causes havoc on the body, brain and spirit. Bodies can go into in crisis mode with digestive disorders, anxiety and panic attacks. In this two-part series, Patricia Dedman Nail, owner of 6-D Design and clinical psychotherapist, teaches a processes that can be used to combat stress. Class is held in A Tasteful Place, followed by a healing meditative walk in the garden. For more information, please visit or call 214-515-6615.


Lorie Fangio- 4-Course Spring Market Menu

April 27, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Donald and Charlotte Test Pavilion


Join Lorie Fangio, teaching chef, and owner of A Taste of Paris™, for a spring French market class. Lorie teaches a four-course meal as she shares stories of the French table. This four-course meal starts with decadent Baked Goat Cheese with Tomato Confit. Our second course will be a beautiful Pear and Endive Salad with a French vinaigrette, and learn to make the perfect risotto; French style. To register, visit 

Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden Activities:


Natural Egg Dying, Easter Weekend, April 19-21 

Exploration Center-Plant Lab, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Get excited for two weekends full of egg-citing, egg-themed programs. Stop by the Plant Lab for special egg-squisite egg dying using plant-based dyes. This year, an eggs-tra egg-citing weekend is included, and the plant lab offers egg-speriments every hour on the hour. Be sure to reserve a lab seat online. Appropriate for ages 5 and older.

Creativity Corner: Easter Edition Sponsored by Neiman Marcus

Friday-Sunday, April 19-21

10 a.m.-2 p.m., Entry Plaza
Kick off the day by creating a homemade Easter craft to take home.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Lovepacs {Service Opportunities for Kids}

We are always looking for ways to serve in our community with our children.  Giving up your time to help someone less fortunate is an ideal way to teach children to put others before themselves and to be the being the hands and feet of Jesus.

We recently volunteered to help pack meal boxes for Lovepacs - Lewisville.  There are several homes in our area that serve with this organization.  Essentially they pack up boxes of food to help children in our community.  Low income children get free lunches at their public school.  However, when school is out for breaks, Lovepacs still provides food for the children to have at home.  A local family uses their house to collect food donations and regularly schedules packing and delivery days to get the food to children in need.

We showed up for a packing day.  This family has completed opened their house for this project.  There was food stacked up lining all of the rooms downstairs including the garage!  There were a lot of people crowded in the house too, all wanting to help feed the children.

We were giving a packing list of which items and how many should be included in each Lovepac box.  This is also the list of items that they pray regularly for donations.

We went down the line and filled box after box.

Each box contained cereal, soup, canned vegetables, peanut butter, jelly, canned meat like tuna/chili/chicken, canned fruit, granola bars, poptarts, ramen noodles, and some individual snack items.

At one point we ran out of canned vegetables so someone made a run to the store and brought back a full supply for us.

There were hundreds of boxes packed and then other volunteers helped to deliver them to the schools to be passed out before the next school break.

Lovepacs is a great organization to volunteer with. There official website is  You can go there to find a group in your area to serve.  Blessings!

Monday, February 11, 2019

The Zamboni Experience

We are a hockey/figure skating family.  We spend all of our time at the ice rink and everyone there knows us.  Although we've seen it a zillion times, we still enjoy watching the Zamboni ride around the rink as it smooths out the ice between hockey games and skating sessions.  Last year Stuart mentioned several times that he would love to drive the Zamboni, just one time.  It was a "Bucket List" item for him.  So for his birthday this year I asked around and found out that our ice rink offers a "Zamboni Experience"!

I told Stuart that he had to take the day off of work for a birthday experience but I didn't tell him what he was doing.  I made him wear a blindfold while I drove him a round about way to the rink. 

When we were almost to the ice rink, we gave Stuart a little hint of what he was going to do.  It was a little toy Zamboni but he had to keep his blindfold on and just feel the toy to try to figure it out.  It took him just a few minutes to guess what it was but he still didn't understand what we were going to do.

He was pretty excited when he learned about his birthday surprise!  But we were going to get a tour of the Zamboni Room and learn all about the machine before he would get to drive it.  I think he was happy about this because I think he had gotten a little queasy from the long blindfolded ride with me driving and needed to let his stomach settle before driving heavy machinery.  I might have made the drive a little too long but I wanted to get him completely turned around so he wouldn't know where we were going!  

We have never been in the Zamboni Room so we were all excited to get a chance to go behind the scenes.  The Zamboni expert was on hand to teach us everything we might ever want to know about Zambonis.

Here it is!  The coveted driver seat of the Zamboni!  
(*Insert angels signing in the background*) 

The Zamboni was patented in 1928 and was name after Frank Zamboni.  This particular Zamboni runs on propane fuel and has a Volkswagon engine.  As it resurfaces the ice, it can remove around 2,500 pounds of compacted snow while it can leave behind about 1,500 pounds of water.  The blade on the machine weighs 57 pounds and is 1/2 inch thick.

Fascinating facts.  But ok.  Enough chit-chat.  Let's do this!

Here is a video of Stuart's first time driving the Zamboni around the rink.  He was not spraying water and the blade wasn't down.  This lap was just to get the hang of driving the behemoth.  

Look at that smile!  I think he was having a pretty good time!

Now let's spray some water and actually smooth the ice.  Here's another video of Stuart actually resurfacing the ice.  Look at the nice shine on the ice!

That's some professional looking ice right there!

The kids were hoping that they would get a chance to ride along with Daddy.  And they did!!  Rachel went first.

Here's a video snippet of Rachel's Zamboni ride.  She was so excited!

Then we were all surprised when the Zamboni guy told Nicholas that he didn't get to just ride on the Zamboni but instead he was going to DRIVE the Zamboni!  We quickly told him Nicholas' age just to be sure he understood that he doesn't even have a drivers license yet but he was still cool with him driving!  
Of course, here is a video of Nicholas driving a Zamboni.  He was nervous but he did really well.  It's pretty neat that he has driven a Zamboni and flown an airplane before getting his drivers license!

We were all sad when the time was up but Stuart was still grinning from ear to ear.  

Bucket List item: Drive a Zamboni.  Check!

Happy birthday to the "World's Best Zamboni Driver"!