Page 1


where moms connect

volume 3 路 issue 5

May 2012

the magazine

GardeninG 101

pg. 8


Date Night Ideas

Heroics inspired by the heart of a hero.


saac entered this world with a complex heart defect, resulting in only one functioning ventricle, the second chamber all but missing.

scarred and damaged tissue was repaired, and a patch positioned in his heart,  ­€‚ƒ„……‚†…‡‚ …‚€…‡‚ ˆ‚‰­Š developed ventricle.

In a revolutionary, new open-heart surgery pioneered by cardiac specialists at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center,

Two years later, Isaac is ready to face all foes, a caped crusader with the heart of a hero.

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From the editor

momaha where moms connect vOLUME 3 · ISSUE 5 · MAY 2012 editor J O S I E LOZ A 402-444-1075

editorial director & designer


CHRIS CHRISTEN 402-444-1094

creative director & designer A N A N DA S pA DT

copy editor AMY LaMAR

production coordinator pAT R I C I A “ M U R pH Y ” B E N O I T

on the cover G a b r i e l R u ny o n , a s i x t h g r a d e r a t K i n g S c i e n c e & Te c h n o l o g y M a g n e t C e n t e r, u s e s a l l h i s m i g h t t o p u l l w e e d s l a s t S e p t e m b e r. p h o t o g r a p h e d b y C H R I S M AC H I A N / THE WORLD -HERALD

contributing writers K I M C A R pE N T E R TINA KING A M Y TO KO S C AT KO E H L E R M A DA LY N S H E A

to advertise, contact KRISTINE BUHMAN 402-444-1442 MICHAELA HANEY 402-444-1489

Momaha Magazine is a monthly publication of the Omaha World-Herald, 1314 Douglas St., Suite 600, Omaha NE 68102. Momaha is a registered trademark, and all content is copyright 2012 by the Omaha World-Herald. All rights reserved. The opinions and perspectives published herein are those of the authors and should not be construed as those of Momaha Magazine.



Me? A Gardener?

have a confession. I’m a poser – a garden poser. All of my houseplants are in sorry shape. I don’t have a green thumb – only a green face when I see bugs. Eww! I love spring flowers and homegrown fruits and vegetables, especially tomatoes, peppers and watermelon - from my father’s garden. He spends countless hours there potting, digging and sweating. I felt bad last spring when I accidentally received credit for his work. I was having a garage sale at my parents’ house when a Bellevue Garden Club representative stopped by to ask if my parents (Benjamin and Rose) wanted to participate in the annual garden walk. “Sure,” I said. “What an honor.” I filled out the participation form for my parents. I gave this description about the garden: Eclectic mixes of exotic plants and yard art; a rose-adorned gazebo; stone walkways leading to Greek-inspired statues; a generously landscaped retaining wall; shade-loving annuals and perennial plants; fruits and vegetables. When the tour was announced, my name was associated with the garden. I felt horrible because I have never done any weeding, tilling, planting or watering. To be honest, my mom hasn’t either. Dad gets total credit for the bountiful flowers, lush green grasses and scrumptious veggies. He often recruits my 4-year-old, Alejandra, to help. She loves every dirt-tossing, worm-relocating, digging minute with “Papa.” Have at it, Alejandra. You’re not going to find me in the garden with those creepy crawlers slithering around in the dirt. Not a chance. I’m quite happy watching from afar.

Josie Loza is editor and mother to Bobby Jr., 8, Alejandra, 4, and Gabriella, 15 months. Chat with Josie each Friday from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on @LozaFina

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?! Read “How I Do It,” a Q&A feature on moms getting through their day.

Date Night Just Got Fun 1.

Park the mini-van and go on a minivacation. Stay at one of Omaha's chic downtown hotels like the Magnolia or Hotel Deco. You don't have to leave the hotel if you don't want to. Have a cocktail in the lounge. Order roomservice. Rent hotel movies. Head for the pool or the sauna. Schedule facials and massages.


Choose a restaurant that has small cozy tables or booths where you can sit side-by-side. Great options: J. Coco, Spezia, Portovino, Mark's Food and Wine.


Try brunch and a matinee. Visit a neighborhood restaurant (or somewhere low-key like Louie M's Burger Lust Cafe, 1718 Vinton St., or Dixie Quicks in Council Bluffs ) and check out a flick you'll both enjoy like “Titanic 3D” at Aksarben Cinema.

Click through our “Kids Camp” directory.


Join Momaha’s book club. It meets 7 p.m. April 27. The book is “Unbroken.”


RSVP to bradangie.

Date nights don't have to be formal and boring. Turn up the heat by doing something that you both will enjoy.

Go to a small Italian restaurant. One that may escape notice is Malara's, tucked in a quiet neighborhood near 22nd and Pierce Streets. Look for a 1909 building with a porch. A second generation of family members runs the restaurant. Share a big bowl of homemade spaghetti, ravioli or lasagna.

Find a restaurant with a dance floor. If you're looking for a spot with an older crowd, try Anthony's Steakhouse/ Ozone Lounge near 72nd and F Streets. Ozone offers live music - from smooth jazz to rock music - six days a week.

Compiled by Josie Loza; photos from World-Herald archive


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picked out the perfect “lovey” toy for my son when he was born. It was a gift from my husband’s co-workers – a little patchwork dog. It was sturdy, small, cute and washable. I imagined my son taking the little dog everywhere and making it his best friend. But Donovan wanted nothing to do with the dog. Instead, he fell in love with a clunky, oversized stuffed monkey. I was heartbroken. From the time Donovan was 1 year old, that giant monkey went everywhere with him – to bed, day care, the grocery store – even on trips to North Carolina. Everywhere. Eventually, Monkey started

to smell bad. He fell apart and needed repairs. Donovan didn’t care. In the beginning, I tried to steer my son to different loveys like dinosaurs, rainbow rabbits and bears. He wasn’t interested. The lesson learned here is my own. I can hope all day long that my children will love what and who I want them to love. But in the end, their own hearts must decide. Thirty years from now, I expect that my son will bring home a lovely young lady who I will adore. She will be small, sturdy and washable. But if she turns out to be big, and smelly and require several surgeries to repair broken parts, I’ll try to remember that it is his heart that gets to choose. And no matter who the woman is, she’ll be lucky to have my son – a boy who loves with his whole heart. Cat Koehler is married and has two children. She works full time. Read her column Mondays on

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Organized Travel By Amy Tokos ummer is a popular time for family travel. Whether you are taking your family on a weeklong trip to Florida or just an overnight trip to Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City, these tips can help you be organized enough to actually relax and enjoy yourself. •Get an early start by making a packing list a few weeks before you leave. This gives you time to make additions as you think of them, as well as time to make any last-minute trips to the store. If you notice that you are always rewriting the same basic list – which most of us do – consider typing it up for future trips. •Lighten your load. If you are going on a road trip, clean out the glove box and console in the car. You probably have some unneeded items in your purse and wallet. Only take what you need and leave the rest at home. In case your wallet is stolen on your trip, it is not a bad idea to make copies of your credit cards, passport and other important items in your wallet. Leave the duplicates with a friend at home. •Pack bags within bags. This may sound silly, but it is genius! If you have multiple children sharing the same suitcase, for example, have each of them


put their clothes in shopping bags and pack them inside the suitcase. When you arrive at your destination, they can quickly and easily retrieve their bag of stuff. No more digging for socks! •Travel light. Limit each kid to one backpack/bag for their entertainment, and make sure it is a bag that he or she can carry and maintain. Their toys and electronics should be kept in this bag. It is also a good idea to let them have a snack in their bag. This gives your kids some independence and prevents you from being the keeper of all the snacks. You can replenish their backpacks/bags as needed. •Keep important travel information together in a handy location. Maps, reservation numbers, passports and any other important travel documents will be easy to find if they are placed together. This could be in a pocket of a carry-on bag or in a resealable plastic bag in your purse. •Look up! There is a lot to see while you are traveling. Try to set aside time for yourself and for the kids to put electronics away. Memories are made by what we see, what we experience and the conversations we have. Make your trip memorable.


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The Mini Victory Garden By Laurie Brekke


e always had a Victory Garden when I was a kid. I didn’t help much, but I always assumed that gardening was in my blood. So once I had my own little plot of land, I thought a quick brush up was all I needed. Then I discovered the dangers of lead levels in dirt, and the importance of trace minerals and required ground temperatures. I freaked. But because I was always more stubborn than smart, I shut off the computer and “plowed” ahead anyway. Here are tips and tricks that I have picked up over the years. Grow Your own Potted GArden I consider potted gardens to be a mini victory over traditional gardening. artesano Pottery on south 24th street has beautiful terra-cotta pots, or you can make your own custom-built container garden using thrift store finds. regardless of the type of pots you use, drainage is important. ensure that your pots have drain holes in the bottom, and then add a layer of pieces of broken terra-cotta pots. Fill each pot with organic potting soil, plant and add water. The sun will do the rest. It’s that easy. Potted gardens dry out quickly. an easy way to check the water level is to stick your finger up to your second knuckle into the dirt. If your finger comes back relatively clean, add water. If it comes back muddy, the soil has enough moisture.

Go Green – MiCro Green salad greens and herbs are perfect for a newbie gardener. They’re quick to get going and much cheaper (and tastier) than store-bought versions. a packet of seeds costs a dollar and produces enough leafy greens for several weeks’ worth of salads. a few weeks after planting, you will have a batch of micro greens that any restaurateur would envy. Plant salad seeds throughout the season as needed.

tAstY rAbbit Food When your greens are tall enough to look like they could be in a salad (two to six inches) and your herbs have enough leaves that a few won’t be missed, snip both with kitchen shears and wash gently. The greens are tender, so dress them lightly. The herbs can be chopped, diced and cooked.

seedY How to

sprinkle seeds into your container of potting soil, allowing some space between the seeds. Cover loosely with potting soil and water well (I like organic Miracle grow ). Place in an area that gets six to eight hours of sun daily and water when dry. salad greens and basil are especially easy to grow from seeds.

How to For PlAntlinGs

save time by letting the pros start your garden. everything gets the same transplanting treatment: pop the plantling (and dirt) from the little cup and gently separate the root system. Dig a hole deep enough for the dirt to reach the bottom leaves. Place plantling, fill in with potting soil and water.


Herbs: A Cook’s best Friend

Fresh herbs upgrade any dish, and can even bring jar sauces up to a near-homemade level. Whether annual or perennial, herbs are as happy growing in pots as they are the ground. They all require six to eight hours of sunlight daily and good drainage, and they take about a month to be ready. Clip what you need and use it throughout the summer and fall. Perennial Favorites OreganO: This Italian and Mexican food must-have plays a starring role in pasta sauces, soups, salad dressings and in pesto with walnuts. Oregano has pretty purple blossoms. ThyMe: a French cuisine staple in poultry dishes, salad dressings, pasta sauces, Creole dishes and in dry meat rubs. rOseMary: The blue flowers are tasty in salads. The leaves have a heady scent and strong flavor. To use, remove leaves from the stem and chop the rosemary to top garlic bread, add into dry meat rubs or sprinkle sparingly onto green salads. Dried leaves may be used the same way as fresh. MInT: These fragrant leaves are stars in mint julep and mojito cocktails or as a drink garnish. Use in savory mint chutney or blend into homemade ice cream. a few leaves add a surprising freshness to green salads. Dried leaves are great in hot or iced tea.

one-bite wonders homegrown cherry tomatoes heap shame onto grocery store varieties and grow well in hanging baskets. They drape over the sides of a basket, and take about 70 days in full sun to grow to maturity.

ChIves: The mild oniony flavor makes it a tasty topper for deviled eggs, potato salad, green salads, chicken or fish. It is a natural for buttermilk and vinaigrette dressings.

Farm-to-Fork dining options

sage: an aromatic seasoning for poultry and stuffing. a Thanksgiving requirement!

An increasing number of local chefs are making farm-to-fork connections. Here’s a sampling of restaurants that consistently serve up dishes made with locally grown ingredients.

annual Favorites BasIl: an Italian essential used in tomato sauces, classic pesto, bruschetta, or as a garnish for green and pasta salads. Pinch off blossoms as they grow to get more leaves. Parsley: Its mild herb flavor is perfect in Italian, Mexican and Indian dishes including pasta sauces and braised meats. Use half and half with mint in mint chutney or with basil for pesto. CIlanTrO: This is classically used in Mexican and Indian dishes for fresh salsas, on tacos and in guacamole. It is also a staple in curry dishes and is often blended into chickpeas for falafel. Dried seeds are used in many Indian dishes.

Potted VeGGies Cherry TOMaTOes (grown in a hanging basket is best): salsa, tomato sauces, green salads, pasta salads or roasted whole with olive oil green PePPers: adds a floral crunch to salads; makes up one-third of new Orleans Mirepoix, stuffed and baked JalaPenO PePPers: adds heat to Mexican and Indian dishes such as salsas, guacamole, braised meats and curries

The Grey Plume 220 S. 31st Ave. The grey Plume’s menu focuses on seasonally-driven contemporary american cuisine. The chefs place special emphasis on locally-grown produce and livestock. The menu is continuously changing with the availability of ingredients, so you can expect to find meals prepared with ingredients from farms in or near nebraska.  Dante ristorante Pizzeria The Shops of Legacy 168th Street and West Center Road Dante’s seasonal; menu features hand-fashioned pasta, fresh salads and wood-fired pizza. Wheatfield’s eatery & Bakery 1202 Howard St.,1224 S. 103rd St., 7775 Olson Drive Wheatfield’s menu specials reflect the local growing season. Currently, asparagus and tomatoes have starring roles in entrees and side dishes.

Feta’s Greek restaurant 743 N. 114th St.; 14544 West Center Road Feta’s buys its produce from nebraska farms. although the fresh tomatoes and cucumbers it uses may be more expensive, Feta’s manages to keep its prices low. Whether you’re eating a gyro full of fresh onions and peppers or a greek salad, you can taste the freshness. Wohlner’s Neighborhood Grocery 3253 Dodge St.; 2289 S. 67th St. Wohlner’s not only prefers selling local produce, its dine-in and take-out cafe specializes in locally grown creations. Try a grilled flatbread pizza made with fresh-picked garden tomatoes and veggies or a lettuce salad garnished with seasonal produce. Compiled by Madalyn Shea


Sweet & Berry Healthy Snacks By Amy LamAr When I pick up my kids from school, I’d love to hear, “Mom, look!” and “Mom, guess what happened today?” Instead, they have food on their minds. The most convenient choices - chips, cookies and fruit snacks – aren’t the healthiest choices. Nor are they filling when you’re starved after school. These options take a little planning but they’re worth it when it comes to eating healthy. The bonus? Mom gets to indulge, too!

GrAnolA BerryBAnAnA SmoothieS 2 6-ounce containers fat-free strawberry, mixed berry or raspberry yogurt ½ cup milk ½ cup fresh strawberry halves or raspberries 1 banana, sliced 2 1.5-ounce pouches (4 bars) Nature Valley Cinnamon Crunchy Granola Bars

Sweet Apple Dip

1 cup cottage cheese 2 tablespoons peanut butter ¼ teaspoon cinnamon 1 to 2 teaspoons milk 2 apples or pears In a food processor, combine cottage cheese, peanut butter, cinnamon and milk. Pulse until mixture reaches desired consistency. Add milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until you have a smooth consistency.

In a blender, combine yogurt, milk, strawberry halves and banana slices. Break up three granola bars; add to blender. Blend at high speed for 10 seconds.

Slice apples or pears and dip.

Stop blender and uncover; scrape down sides of container. Cover; blend an additional 20 seconds or until smooth.

Serves 2 to 3. Recipe courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens/Photo by Kurt A. Keeler

Pour yogurt mixture into 2 glasses. Crumble remaining bar and sprinkle over smoothies or top with sliced strawberry. Serves 2. Recipe courtesy of Pillsbury/ Photo by Kurt A. Keeler

Amy LaMar is a stay-at-home mom of Zoey, 7, and Elliot, 4½. She is also a freelance editor, writer and proofreader.






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Tara Heil of Painted Spaces by Design created this sentimental bedroom wall display for Amber and Travis Rinehart of Omaha. The collage depicts scenes from the Ethiopian villages where their children, Tarike, 3, and Demeke, 2, were born. The Rineharts orginally thought that they’d just frame Travis’ photos from their adoption trips. Interior designer Libby Pantzlaff suggested “something a thousand times better,” Amber says. Heil executed the idea for a mini mural against an earthy faux-painted background.

Get the look Image Prep Print images on premium archival matte paper. If necessary, level the horizons in PhotoShop or another photo-editing software program. Take prints to hobby store and select a wooden frame (sans glass) that lays flat against wall. Wall Prep Apply fresh coat of base paint,


followed by faux finish that coordinates with the colors in your photos; allow paint to dry overnight. Using newsprint or craft paper create a template for each photo. Factor in the dimension of the photo frame. Arrange templates on wall, securing each with painter’s tape; mark corner positions lightly with pencil. Apply 3M doublesided tape along the perimeter of the back of each photo;

press photos into position; smooth any creases or bubbles. Faux paint around edges of the photos (one at a time), to expose an irregular portion of the image. Use damp lint-free rag or sponge to finesse texture. Strive for feathered rather than hard edges. When paint is dry, anchor frames to wall using super sticky 3M doublesided tape. Press against frames to secure position.

The Rineharts’ guest bedroom celebrates their children’s roots in Ethiopia. Most of the accessories, including the bedspread and shams, were purchased during adoption trips. Pin dots on a wall map highlight the villages where Tarike and Demeke were born. TEXT AND PHOTOS BY CHRIS CHRISTEN | INSPIRED HOME OMAHA EDITOR

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Critter Crusader

Laura Salter Is Foster Mom to Hundreds of Needy Pets By Tina King


aura Salter pulls on her husband, Matt’s, construction overalls, pushes her hands into a pair of welding gloves and picks up a broom. She braces for battle. The female on the other side of the door – the one poised to attack – is a pregnant feral cat. It’s Salter’s task to make sure that the unborn kittens’ introduction into this world goes well. She wants to nurture and socialize the kittens so they become adorably adoptable. But it’s obvious that she’ll be doing so without the cooperation of the momma cat. Such is the life of Salter, who has faced this scenario many times before. She welcomes pregnant cats and dogs who have been abandoned into her home. She raises these animals and their offspring until they’re able to go to good “forever” homes. Sometimes there is heartbreak. Always there is hard work. Never is there a financial reward. Volunteers like Salter are vital to the operations at the Nebraska Humane Society, where typical volunteer jobs include walking dogs and working as adoption counselors. Pet foster parents like Salter take it to a whole other level – opening their homes and devoting serious time to the pets that just aren’t ready to spend time at the shelter. Sometimes the animals are pregnant, and sometimes they are too shy to handle the shelter environment and maintain an adoptable personality. Some need to be socialized after living in poor conditions. Some “weeblewobble” kittens have “crazy” legs. Some are completely healthy, except for their tendency to walk


Laura Salter with Gypsy, who will move into an adoptive home as soon as her four puppies are weaned and readied for adoption through the Nebraska Humane Society.

into walls. “There is a home for every single one,” Salter says. Sometimes those homes don’t materialize easily. Salter may foster a pet for several months. She stopped keeping track of how many pets she has fostered at home long ago, but it’s safe to say that the number is well into the hundreds. And this goes beyond just cats and dogs to include rabbits, rats and guinea pigs. It helps that Salter works from home, dividing her time between data entry work and helping her husband run the office-end of his business. She often needs to take a break every couple of hours to feed newborn kittens or to make up the “birthing closet” for a female dog. In addition, Salter volunteers

to raise money for the Cat Spay/ Neuter Connection, a local group dedicated to providing lowcost surgeries for qualifying pet owners. The group’s goal is to reduce the feral cat population. President Cindy Bender has known Salter for 10 years. “I can call her and say, ‘I just got myself into a mess and I need some help.’ Laura says yes and then asks what it is,” says Bender. Salter is humble about her contributions to Omaha’s pet population. The Nebraska Humane Society named her its 2010 Volunteer of the Year, but she still seems surprised by any attempt to single out her contributions. She instead exudes the same straighttalking, wry wit that is common among those who devote their

lives to helping others. Husband Matt calls her a “critter crusader.” Their 8-yearold daughter, Anya, often offers up her time to help Mom. Kittens are such a common sight around their home that Anya has almost become bored with them. Salter laughs and recalls times when her daughter has lectured other kids about the importance of spaying and neutering their pets. “She’s a spitfire,” Salter says with a laugh. Anya’s own story is an interesting one, as she was born in a village on the side of a mountain in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. The Salters traveled there in 2003 to adopt Anya after a four-year adoption process that had them rerouted from potential adoptions in Romania and the Ukraine. In the month the couple spent in Georgia, they were told it was unsafe to leave their apartment and that they should always stay with their escorts when traveling to and from various government offices. Armed soldiers were a common sight. The Rose Revolution coup occurred a few months later. Now Anya, a third-grader at Crestridge Elementary School, spends half the day learning in English and half the day learning in Spanish. She loves Godzilla, dragons, sharks and tennis. The busy mom adds to her todo list transporting her daughter to all of her activities and helping out the school’s PTO. She also makes stops at the Nebraska Humane Society to pick up food and supplies. Friends like Bender watch with admiration. “She is pretty amazing.”

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Robert H. Storz Foundation


Lenore Polack | (402) 342-3300 2200 Dodge St. | Omaha, NE

LET THE PIZZA PIE GUYS GIVE YOUR KIDS A ONE-OF-A-KIND BIRTHDAY PARTY. • Parties start at $99 • Parties for the entire class • Interactive smartboards in each party room • Parties led by a trained adult

Kids get to make their own pizza, play an interactive trivia game and use an interactive smartboard. 3113 North 120th Street Omaha, NE 68164




2, 4, 6, 8 – Who Do We Appreciate? Fun, Easy and Original Gifts for Teachers

CoMpIled by KIM Carpenter | pHotoGrapHed by KUrt a. Keeler Teachers play important roles in our children’s lives. They decorate classrooms, put smiley faces on homework and spend more of their free time planning fun activities than any of us probably realize. Teacher Appreciation Week is May 7-11. Instead of the usual “World’s Best Teacher” mug, have your children make personalized gifts as original as the teachers who will receive them.

Seedling BaSket

Bath SaltS

CuStom t-Shirt

This is a symbolic way to thank teachers for helping our children grow and blossom. Plus, it gives kids a chance to get their hands dirty.

Give teachers a chance to take a break and relax a little with this homemade bath soak. Kids can choose the fragrance and do all the mixing.

Give your child a chance to show off his or her sartorial savvy with a one-of-a-kind T-shirt.

Materials Plain or colored cardstock Small container such as a can, jar or white craft cardboard basket. Glue stick Flower seeds (we chose forget-me-nots) Instant potting mix soil such as Wonder Soil Expanding Soil Wafers available in most hardware and garden supply stores or online Plastic flowerpot small enough to fit inside container Optional: ribbon, Spanish moss, stickers, tissue paper

Materials Epsom salt: enough to fill the container Essential oils such as lavender or peppermint Food coloring Plain or colored cardstock Clear plastic packing tape Plastic or glass container (such as a Mason jar) with lid Glue stick

Instructions 1.Measure and cut cardstock 2. Have your child decorate cardstock with a drawing or design 3. Glue cardstock firmly to container 4. Plant seeds in small flower pot and place pot inside container 5. Include additional decorations as desired


Instructions 1. In small bowl, mix Epsom salt with several drops of essential oil 2. Blend in food coloring, such as red for peppermint or blue and red for purple 3. Measure cardstock to the width of packing tape to create a label (Our example features a pink elephant blowing bubbles.) 4. Glue cardstock to front of container; cover with clear packing tape to water-proof

Materials Child’s drawing or design Iron-on transfer paper (we used an Avery T-Shirt Transfer.) Plain T-shirt, any color Instructions 1. Use copy machine to copy image onto transfer paper 2. Follow transfer paper instructions to iron on and set image

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More than 70 stores, services and restaurants Highway 370 & 72nd Street, Papillion 402.537.0046 Mon-Sat 10-9, Sun 12-6


May 2012 Omaha's favorite magazine for mom's from the #1 local parent website,


May 2012 Omaha's favorite magazine for mom's from the #1 local parent website,