Momma Meg Loves: The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

At about 6 months 6 Weeks pregnant, Daniel and I decided that I would NOT be returning to work after Olivia was born . We weren’t really sure how we were going to make it work… just that we both agreed that it was a) important for me to stay home with our new babe and b) that my measly little salary would barely cover quality childcare and therefore be no more practical than staying home and cutting costs. So here I am… full-time, stay-at-home momma… lookin’ for cheap… or better yet, FREE, things to do.

I’m considering starting a summer series on baby-friendly adventures under $10/day. Consider this the first edition.

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When my mom was here after Olivia was born (around 5 weeks) she bought me an annual pass to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens – Become a Member Here. Our family pass  was $109 and includes admission for 6 individuals, not living under the same roof, for one year, free parking, discounted concert tickets for Chihuly Nights concert series, various discounts at the gift shops, restaurants, and local nurseries. Liv and I have easily been two dozen times in the past 4 months. She LOVES being outside (mentioned here) so most of the time we just pack a picnic and park ourselves on a blanket next to the Koi pond or water walls and just relax. (I’m that lucky one that has the baby who will happily lay still and thoughtfully gaze up at the trees or sky #naturebaby) Tickets for adults are $15.00, so after 8 visits, the family pass has paid for itself. With the exception of the past month (it’s been unbearably hot to go during the day) the arboretum has been my go-to, get-out-of-the-house, activity. At an average of 3 visits a month, each trip would cost $3.02.

At The Arboretum with Uncle Chippy + Gramma G at 7 Weeks Old

Watching the Koi Fish at the Arboretum at 3 months old

This year, May through October, the Dallas Arboretum is hosting the Chihuly exhibit: a collection of large hand-blown glass installations. Like nothing I’ve ever seen, Chihuly is definitely worth checking out…. And, since it’s been SO hot during the day, I recommend checking out the exhibit during Chihuly Nights (Either during one of the summer concerts Tues/Thurs nights or on Wednesday nights when the exhibit is beautifully lit and the heat isn’t quite as intense)

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There are also 50+ affiliated gardens all over the country to which we can visit for FREE! Hopefully planning to check out the Los Angeles Arboretum or the South Coast Botanic Garden in Long Beach while we’re in California next month!




Post Pregnancy: Shape Up, Slim Down

First things first… I gained 62 pounds with Olivia and have NEVER had to work as hard as I’ve having to work to lose the baby weight and reclaim my figure. Several weeks before I realized that I was pregnant, (having already noticed some unexplained weight gain) I started doing Tracy Anderson’s Mat Workout 4-5x a week. ( I could tell you that I was doing the prescribed 6 days on, 1 day off… but that’s just not true). If I could go back and do one thing differently I would have not strayed from my normal diet/exercise routine during pregnancy. I’ve always maintained a fairly healthy lifestyle without depriving myself. I do LOVE food. That being said… Day One: Home from the hospital… I found myself discouraged when I saw the number on the scale. Within the first week I was down about 25 pounds. (Obviously 6.8lbs of that was my precious baby girl). After the first month, I was down another 5 or 6lbs… having not done anything more than walking with Liv in the Bjorn 4-5x a week and attempting to break some of the bad eating habits that I picked up in the last trimester. With more than 30 pounds to go… I found myself totally discouraged.

At 5-weeks postpartum I picked up a vinyasa flow yoga class on Monday nights at Karmany Yoga. Although this was the perfect way for me to start getting out solo for an hour of “me time”… Addicted, I started going 2x a week… but still definitely wasn’t enough exercise to result in any weight loss.  (I’ve really enjoyed the Monday/Wednesday 7pm class – Karmany offers a very positive and nonjudgemental atmosphere… understanding that everyone practices yoga for different reasons and at different levels and no practice is “better” than the next. Individuals gets what they put in to their practice. Karmany is also the only donation-based studio in DFW… Making it even more awesome. Suggested is $15/class or $10/class for 3+ classes a week)

2 months postpartum,  I found myself centered but still carrying an extra 25 pounds around. Determined to really get things going in the weight-loss department… I dusted off my Tracy Anderson DVDs. I have some qualms with her “methods” and definitely did not follow them completely… However, I have found some success mixing and matching bits and pieces of the following workouts… creating my own 20-40 minute routine(s)… For example… I’ll choose the “arms” from the “Metamorphosis” workout, “Legs” from the “Mat Workout” and Abs from “Post Pregnancy.”  I can usually get in at least 30 minutes while Liv naps… sometimes an hour… if I’m REALLY lucky. I almost always opt out of the dance cardio… because even my 5 month old daughter thinks I look like a fool doing it.

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Tracy Anderson Post Pregnancy Workout: Very Calm and Quiet… which is really the last thing I want in a workout. 6+ times a week is suggested to “see results” but REALLY… predicting a 60-min block of time where baby is either a) happy enough to watch mommy workout or b) napping doesn’t happen 6-days a week. I’m lucky if it happens even 4x.  I will say… this workout is heavy on the abs… which is exactly what my postpartum body needs.

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Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis: I think this is the “method” that most people have heard of. Basically a 90-day complete diet and exercise program involving a structured meal-plan and 6 days on, 1 day off exercise routine. The strength training sequence changes every 10 workouts, to be used in conjunction with a 30-min cardio dance routine (This is MUCH easier than the stuff in the “Beginner Dance Cardio” video). Seems to be more leg-intensive… but I think that may just be the “hip-centric” version I have.

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Tracy Anderson Mat Workout – Overall, my favorite. One 60-min workout including warm-up and cool-down stretching. Somewhat fast-paced and dance-y. Starts with 2 leg sequences (using a standard dining chair for balance) 2 arm sequences (one with 3lb weights) then “standing ab isolation” (basically upright ab wiggling) followed by more legs on the floor and a mat ab sequence. I love that this workout moves at a faster pace… but the sequences get boring after a few workouts… I need variation to stay motivated.

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 Tracy Anderson Beginner Dance Cardio: If you want to dance around a feel like a fool. Might be fun on girls night after a few cocktails. Or definitely a workout if you can pick up a routine easily. I look like a limp noodle when I dance… I’m sure Dan would vote this as “most fun to watch”

I only wish I was as coordinated as Nicole Richie… Tracy Anderson & Nicole Richie Dance Cardio

Fast Forward to 4.5 months. A combination of semi-consistent workouts (at least 5x weekly… be it 15 minutes or an hour), yoga, a healthier diet and extra calories burned from breast-feeding. I’ve lost another 10 pounds… Another 15 would get me back to pre-baby weight but I TOTALLY accept the reality that that may NEVER happen. Not to mention the fact that I may NEVER fit in to my size favorite jeans because I have these things called hips now! Hello Momma body. 

In the Kitchen: Beer Biscuits

Beer Biscuits

(Originally from the Kitchen of Gramma G)

This may be the easiest breakfast you’ve ever made… and easily one of the most delicious. Great for those mornings when you really feel like a hot (homemade) breakfast… but getting the griddle out seems like a huge hassle. I’m convinced that they were created as a hangover cure… or to make use of those “wounded soldiers.” Or in my case – Simple enough to make on 6 hours of sleep with a baby in one arm. 


2 cups Bisquick

3 tsp Sugar

3/4 Can/Bottle Beer (About 8oz)


Mix until blended.

Bake in greased muffic tins at 450 for 10-12 min.

Makes 8 biscuits. Or… 6 really large ones.

Good with Old Fashioned Grape Jelly + Butter or Honey


Note: (Don’t stress too much about how much beer “3/4 of a can” is… I’ve tried everything form 1/2 can to the whole thing… everything works… these biscuits aren’t science. Variety of beer is also unimportant. Generally speaking… lighter is better. We usually buy Miller Lite specifically for these biscuits because a)that’s how my mom made them and b) they sell tiny little 8oz cans… so there’s no wasted beer!)

Post Peanut Projects

My Big List of Post Peanut Projects

An ambitious (and growing) list of things I’d like to accomplish (this year) as a stay-at-home mommy

  • Create a Disaster/ Tornado Kit for the house and car
  • Take a Sewing Class, Finally take the sewing machine that I got for my birthday 3 years ago… learn to use it to accomplish several projects (Including… New Pillows for the Living Room Sofa, Curtains for Master Bedroom, Guest Bedroom and Liv’s Room)
  • Revamp Outdoor Living Spaces (New Planties, drought-friendly plants for beds, Cushions for Adirondack chairs, twinkle lights for arbor, porch swing, new grill solution, and of course… kill weeds.
  • Document Recipes for “Season’s of Love” Lifebook
  • Start Mommy Blog (whoohoo… I’m already making progress on this one!)
  • Update Liv’s baby book
  • Organize Photos in Picasa albums
  • Organize Office/ Re-do Office space so that’s it’s functional as Daniel’s “home office” with room to share for Music and Mommy stuffs
  • Put Wedding Photos in an Album
  • Order and Frame Wedding, Maternity and Newborn prints
  • Clean out craft closet, pantry/utility room, and kitchen cabinets
  • ReVamp Guest Bedroom
  • Open Etsy Shop to sell Found/Handmade (Read: things I sew) goodies
  • Replace fixtures throughout house (rather… remove. Rustoleum spray paint ’em and put ’em back on)
  • Postpartum slim down
  • Re-Finish + Sell old dining set