The Art of the Pumpkin at the Dallas Arboretum

You know it's fall when the Dallas Arboretum opens up the Pumpkin Village, the best pumpkin patch in all of Dallas-Fort Worth!  This year's them is The Art of the Pumpkin.

We have been bringing the kids to the Pumpkin Village every year since they were little.  It makes us fall in love with autumn all over again.  

The Pumpkin Village is the perfect place to take family pictures because it is just fun and full of fall colors.

There are four 20-foot tall pumpkin houses in Pumpkin Village!  Each pumpkin house has its own design and made from a gathering of beautiful pumpkins and gourds. 

Of course, the beautiful princess carriage is drawn by two straw horses in a field of pumpkins.

There are over 10,900 corn stalks and 1,200 bales of hay in Pumpkin Village.  Most of these are used in the maze that little kids just love to run through.

There are 24 different types of pumpkins, 18 different types of squash, and 4 different types of gourds.  I loved looking at them all spread out next to each other.  This picture is just a small part of the full presentation.

There is so much more going on at the Arboretum besides just the Pumpkin Village and don't forget to take the kids to the Rory Meyers Children's Garden!  Scroll down below and see the amazing list of events they have in store for this fall.


Dallas College Cooks

Every Monday

11 a.m.-Noon

A Tasteful Place

Participate in this popular demonstration cooking class, taught by Chef Lisa Roark, from the college's nationally recognized culinary school, formerly known as El Centro. She demonstrates two new recipes each month.

September: Grilled Eggplant Salad & Glazed Turnips

October: Veggie Stuffed Bell Peppers and Grilled Artichoke with Lemon and Herbs

November: Broccoli and Greens Soup and Roasted Fennel Bruschetta


Chef-tastic Cooking Series

11 a.m.-Noon

A Tasteful Place

See how the pros do it, and sample a small bite of the fruits of their labor. Enjoy a demonstration from renowned chefs and restaurants as they take center stage in the demonstration kitchen.

September 19: Greenville Avenue Pizza Company and their famous pizza

September 30: Yelibelly Chocolates

October 1: One Great Vegan, one of her fabulous Vegan recipes

October 1: Terri Finazzo, demonstrates a pepper recipe

October 3: Josephine's Cakes, Sweets Treats and More, featuring her popular Pumpkin Bread

October 8: Terri Finazzo, demonstrates a tomato recipe

October 10: Whitness Nutrition, pumpkin recipe

October 14: Kuluntu Bakery showcasing her sourdough bread

October 17: Creative Cookies and Pops, demonstrates her gorgeous decorative cookies

October 28: White Rock Ale House

October 31: Custom Cafe Foods and a lovely fall recipe

November 4: CiboDivino shows off an Italian recipe

November 7: Charlie's Treats featuring his famous nuts


Mommy & Me Mondays

& Tiny Tot Tuesdays

Every Monday & Tuesday through October 27

10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Pecan Grove

Children's activities include painted body tattoos by A Fresh Perspective, Country Critters Petting Zoo, Fit4Mom White Rock Dallas Stroller Fitness at 10 a. m. and Kindermusik at noon. New safety precautions and socially distanced rules will be in place for all of these activities.Sponsored by Kimberly-Clark


Walk This Way

Every Monday 10 a.m.-Noon

September 21-October 26

Get fit by joining this walking class around the garden, led by Denise and Max Davis, long-time Dallas Arboretum volunteers.


Tasteful Tuesdays

Every Tuesday

11 a.m.-noon

A Tasteful Place

Every Tuesday, local flower store professionals show participants helpful tips and tricks for making their own floral arrangements and how to select the best grocery store flowers.

September 22: McShan Florist

September 29: Ruibal's

October 6: Enflowerment

October 27: McShan Florist


Daily Harvest

Every Tuesday and Thursday

10 a.m.

A Tasteful Place

Horticulture Manager Joseph Farmer harvests seasonal vegetables, fruits or herbs right out of the garden in A Tasteful Place.


Pumpkin Thursdays Scavenger Hunt

Every Thursday

September 24 through October 29

10 a.m.-3 p.m.

At the Information Booth on Thursdays, guests are invited to pick up a map leading them on a scavenger hunt throughout the garden and finding surprises in Pumpkin Village. Complete the hunt; turn in the card back at the Information Booth to receive a ticket to be redeemed by 4 p.m. for a brownie from the Terrace Café.


Learn to Grow Horticulture Presentation

11 a.m.-Noon

A Tasteful Place

Presented by the North Texas Master Gardeners and the Dallas Arboretum Horticultural Staff, speakers discuss summer and autumn gardening and tips.

October 16: Favorite Plants of the Dallas Arboretum - This class is for those new to the area, new to gardening or simply want to refresh their landscapes.

November 6: This is Texas State Arbor Day, a terrific time to plant trees all across the state. Visitors can learn the best selections for North Texas.


Fridays with Dave

October 2, 9, and 23

11 a.m.

A Tasteful Place

Dave Forehand, Dallas Arboretum's vice president of gardens, has kept the community informed of all the varieties of plants and floral displays during this pandemic. Garden guests are invited to meet him in person and hear his presentations on select Fridays.


Live Music & Performances Every Weekend

Saturday and Sunday from 2-4 p.m. 

Visitors are welcome to bring a picnic or purchase food and kick up their feet every with live music and special performances on the Martin Rutchik Concert Stage & Lawn.

September 19: Reckless Angels - Classic Rock

September 20: Monkey Love Band - Party Rock Band

September 26: Don Diego Band - Jazz

September 27: DJ Sullivan Trio - Electro Mix

October 3: TBA Band

October 4: Marc Touissant Combo - Jazz

October 10: Mountain Natives - Folk

October 11: The Closers - Blues

October 17: Sierra Leone along with performances by the SMU Mustang Mavericks 

October 18: Missing Three Band - Classic to current Rock

October 24: For Love of Country 

October 25: The Closers - Blues

October 31: Missing Three Band- Classic to current Rock

November 1: Cool Side of Easy- Acoustic guitar duo



September 20

11 a.m.-4 p.m.

The garden celebrates Oktoberfest with complimentary beer samples, tasty local and traditional food vendors, and live music all weekend! Compete in the pretzel toss and stein-holding competition, supported by White Rock Ale House. Monkey Love Band plays a concert from 2 p.m.-4 p.m.

Café on the Green's Oktoberfest menu, which is available from September 19 to November 1, features various bratwursts, carved pastrami sandwiches, warm apple strudel, black forest cake and assorted Oktoberfest beers.


National Coffee Day Celebration

September 29

10 a.m.-4 p.m.

A Tasteful Place

Free with Paid Garden Admission

Tastings and Products for Sale

Grab a cup of coffee from one of many of Dallas' favorite spots, listen to live music and choose from a selection of pastries, baked goods, and other coffee flavored treats such as ice cream and popsicles.


National Cookie Month

October is National Cookie Month, and the garden offers a variety of cookie vendors and demonstrations to celebrate.

October 7  11am Frankly Good Vegan Cookies

October 21 11am Hey Y'all Bakery

October 24 11am Full Circle Bakery


National Taco Day

October 4 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

A Tasteful Place

Free with Paid Garden Admission

Tastings and Products for Sale

A Tasteful Place features a variety of specialty tacos for sale ranging from street to gourmet from favorite local spots as well as fresh salsa, tortillas and paletas, while festive live music plays. Stop by for a beer taste test to guess the Mexican beer brands versus domestic ones.


All American Weekend

October 9-12

Martin Rutchik Concert Stage & Lawn

Friday, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. - Eddie Coker

Saturday, 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Mountain Natives, a Dallas folk rock band

Sunday, 2 p.m.-4 p.m. - The Closers, a rock and variety band

Saturday, Sunday and Monday activities also include body tattoo painting by A Fresh Perspective and Country Critters Petting Zoo in Pecan Grove from 10 a.m.-2 p.m


Mum Day! Homecoming returns to the Dallas Arboretum

October 17-18

Don a homecoming mum on Saturday and Sunday. Snap a selfie in front of the Octagon Pumpkin House wearing the mum, and post with the hashtag #dallasarboretummumday to receive a special treat from the Lula Mae Slaughter Terrace


"Owl-O-Ween" with Window to the Wild

October 24 Noon-2 p.m.

Pecan Grove's Pumpkin Village

Join Window to the Wild for a meet and greet with their owls including Hermes, a great horned owl, and Pigwidgeon, the tiniest, Eastern screech owl. Guests can meet and take pictures with these owls as well as ask questions of their handlers. Don't miss this unique "Owl-O-Ween" opportunity.


Family Fun Weekend

October 31-November 1

10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Don't miss the annual Halloween extravaganza weekend with trick-or-treating throughout the garden, pumpkin decorating, body art tattoos and a petting zoo. 

Martin Rutchik Concert Stage & Lawn

Saturday's live music from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. features The Missing Three, and Cool Side of Easy on Sunday from 2 p.m.-4 p.m.

Window to the Wild Bird Flight Show

November 1, 10:30 a.m.

Martin Rutchik Concert Stage & Lawn

Join Window to the Wild for a 45-minute outdoor education flight training show. At the end of the show, come to the stage to meet and greet with the birds and their trainers.



Early bird tickets

People can purchase tickets online from September 1-18 to receive $1 off per ticket; these tickets are valid for admission during the festival dates, September 19-November 1, 2020.

BOGO Wednesdays

Every Wednesday

9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Buy one, get one admission every Wednesday.

C.C. Young Senior Living Thursdays

Every Thursday

9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Seniors 65 and older receive $1 off general garden admission on Thursdays as well as receive a 20% discount in the Hoffman Family Gift Store. 

About the Arboretum:

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is located on the southeastern shore of White Rock Lake at 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, Texas 75218. The Arboretum is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.  Festival admission is $17 for adults, $14 for seniors 65 and older, $12 for children 2-12, and free for Arboretum members and children under two.  Parking is $15 or $10 purchased online. 

For more information, call 214.515.6500 or visit

Homeschool Food Science

I'm excited about a new homeschool class that we have created and both of the kids are taking it together. We are calling the class Food Science and it is based on episodes and books from Alton Brown's Food Network series called Good Eats.

The original Good Eats show began in 1999 and continued for 15 seasons.  Stuart and I watched a lot of these shows back in the days before children.  Alton Brown is a quirky, sarcastic, fun chef who teaches with science, puppets, and crazy antics.  He makes cooking fun even while you are learning about science. I believe there are 245 episodes so we have plenty of curriculum to go through.  There are three Good Eats books and they have a few pages for each episode of the show.  I found the first two books used for about half the price of new so it was like getting 2 for the price of 1. Yay for used books!

The first episode is called Steak Your Claim and it is all about cooking steak.  What a way to jump right in to cooking!

The kids learned about seasoning the steak before cooking and we looked at, felt, and tasted different forms of salt such as kosher salt, coarse and fine sea salt, and pink Himalayan salt.  Alton recommends using coarse kosher salt for steak.

Alton talked about the different cuts of meat and where they are located on the cow.  We took the kids to the grocery store to look at different cuts of steak in person.  We looked at the cut, marbling, and price for different kinds.

Then we picked out the supplies for the lab portion of the class!  Some really nice rib eyes!

Alton also talked about food safety and cross-contamination which is important to be aware of when you are cooking anything so I'm very glad he covered this in the very first class.

Alton also talked about different types of oils and their smoke points and we picked out peanut oil for the kids to use on their steaks. 

A little salt and pepper and they were ready to go!

They each cooked their own steak on cast iron pans that could go from the stove to the oven.  They first seared each side for about 30 seconds.

Then they placed their steaks in the over at 500 degrees for 2 minutes, then flipped them for another 2 minutes.

The steaks were beautiful and they smelled delicious but they were thick so the thermometer said they needed a little more time.

Look at this!  Perfect!  

Both kids were so proud of what they had cooked.

I think I'm going to enjoy this class as much as the kids.  I love that they are learning good cooking skills.  We will also have health and nutrition lessons throughout the course to talk about planning healthy menus, natural vitamin sources, protein vs carb vs fat, etc.

Back to Homeschool Year 2020-2021


The night before we start back to homeschool, Stuart and I always have some fun games for the kids. They usually involve cooperative puzzles that they have to work together to solve. In the past we wrapped the whole downstairs with yarn and they had to start at the beginning of their color of yarn and wind it up while finding their new school books hidden along the way. We have also had them handcuffed to each other as they tried to solve various riddles and puzzles. This year I hit the "easy button" and just bought a $15 escape room type of puzzle game called Exit: The Game - The Sunken Treasure.

It was just perfect!

There was a decoder wheel.

There was a free app that had a countdown and played ocean background music.

It came with some neat items that were used to solve the puzzles.  There were things to cut up and destroy.  

It was great watching the kids work together on solving all of the riddles and puzzles.

Once they finished the game, they got a goody bag.  I used to fill these with new boxes of crayons, calculator, candy and fun little games.  But after all of these years, I had to come up with something a little more on their level.  

They each got a couple of things in their bag.  Rachel loves marine biology so one of her gifts was a sea urchin test (hard shell).

Nicholas enjoys reading mysteries and scary stories and he loves the pictures he has seen of the fictional mutant octopus character Cthulu so I got him a collectible hard cover copy of The Complete Cthulu Mythos Tales by H.P. Lovecraft.

We love starting the school year off with a fun way for them to use their brains and work together.

Jack Carter Pool in Plano

We met up with some friends at Jack Carter Pool in Plano.  We have never been to this pool before.  I can't believe we had never even heard of it.  It has some really fun features!

First there are three big water slides.

We couldn't believe when we saw this FlowRider Surf Simulator!  How cool is that?!  Water flows and you get to ride the waves on a little surf board.  It looked like a lot of fun but I couldn't get up the courage to try it myself.  But the kids loved it!

There is also a real rock climbing wall.  It sits above a 12 foot pool and includes waterfalls and real rocks to climb.  It looked challenging but both of our kids love rock climbing so this was a big hit for them.

There is also a lazy river that we moms enjoyed walking and floating around while we chatted with each other.  

There is even a little kid area to splash around in.

Jack Carter pool was a fun discovery and we will definitely be back!  It is located at 2601 Pleasant Valley Road in Plano, TX.  Admission is included with the Plano parks membership.  If you don't have a membership then the admission cost is only $5 for ages 16 and under and $9 for adults.  Check them out at the Jack Carter Pool website.

Texas Wildflowers

It's no secret that Texas has the most beautiful wildflowers.  

We spend every Wednesday afternoon at a local park where all of the homeschoolers in the area get together for the kids to play and the moms to chat.  Today I just had to wander off on my own to visit this amazing patch of flowers.

There were Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta).

The beautiful Lemon Bee Balm aka Horsemint (Monarda punctata).

And my favorite wildflower, the Indian Blanket (Gaillardia pulchella).

As I walked around the park, I noticed some amazing chalk drawings on the sidewalk.  This one says, "United We Stand...6 feet apart".

Here Rapunzel is locked away in her tower as she says, "Oh, you're tired of social distancing? That's cute."

The Incredible Hulk

And this infamous portrait of an Afghan girl.