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PANCAKE LOVE Strawberry purée to start the day

KINDNESS ROCKS! A month’s worth of random acts of kindness

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weekends & holidays. 72nd Street Clinic 7205 West Center Road Suite 104 Downtown Clinic 555 North 30th Street Harrison Street Clinic 6715 South 180th Street Pacific Street Clinic 139th & Pacific Street 1911-333-02

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5 Editor’s Column 6 Momaha Bookshelf 8 On Our Radar 34 In the Moment 36 Get Organized 38 Be Well

10 Kindness Calendar 12 Kindness Rocks 16 Cookies + a Basket 22 Valentine Pancakes 24 No-sew Blanket 28 3D Heart Card 30 Sweet Sugar Wafers 32 Blackberry Yogurt Bark

7 Interiors Joan and Associates 9 Huntington Learning Center 14 Rose Theater 18 Opera Omaha 26 YMCA of Greater Omaha 35 Premier Dental

February 2020

momaha where moms connect

VOLUME 11 . ISSUE 2 . FEBRUARY 2020 editor in chief CHRIS CHRISTEN 402-444-1094

creative director + designer KILEY CRUSE 402-444-1375

assistant editor MARJIE DUCEY 402-444-1034

copy editor SHELLEY LARSEN 402-444-1143 editor ASHLEE COFFEY 402-444-1075

content contributors AMY TOKOS B E T H FA R R E L L HEIDI HOFFMAN K E L LY M C Q U I L L A N

Now ow RegisteRiNg fo foR


oNce-a week swiM lessoNs

MoRNiNg, afteRNooN, eveNiNg & sat. MoRNiNg tiMeslots available

cover photo KILEY CRUSE

account manager DEB MCCHESNEY 402-444-1448

account executive DEBORAH FERNSELL 402-444-1209

account executive E M I LY M A R T I N 402-444-1411

account executive M A R I LY N M A R T I N 402-444-1405

Momaha Magazine is a monthly publication of the Omaha World-Herald, 1314 Douglas St., Suite 700, Omaha, NE 68102. Momaha is a registered trademark, and all content is copyright 2020 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.

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SUMMER on Stage Spend Your


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February 2020


MOMAHA.COM EDITOR ASHLEE COFFEY Wife to Kevin Coffey, entertainment editor for the Omaha World-Herald. Mom to Sam and Elliott. Follow her on Twitter: @AshleeCoffeyOWH



f I could ask anything of my parenting experience, it’s that I raise considerate children who turn into considerate teenagers and considerate adults. I hope they find ways to use their talents for good. But above all, I just want them to be people who others know as being kind and thoughtful. I want them to be the people who offer up their seat to someone in need, who go out of their way to hold open a door or give a homeless person the couple of dollars in their pocket that they had planned to buy a pop with. Are they always nice today? No. They’re 6 and 3. But the seeds of kindness have been

planted, and I really enjoy witnessing the fruits of my labors. When Elliott received a treat recently, he wanted to keep one to give to his big brother. Another time, the sun was in Elliott’s eyes on our ride home and, without prompting, Sam held up his book bag and blocked the rays for his little brother. Sam and Elliott both love opening and holding the door for me, and I make sure they say “please” and “thank you” to everyone. I’ll continue to instill kindness in them, and I’ll also continue to point out the kindness of others. During difficult times, it’s good to see that the world is still full of wonderful people who care.


TWITTER @momaha_owh PINTEREST /momahaowh INSTAGRAM /momaha_owh



Hot off the presses


by Julie Flett When a young girl moves from the country to a small town, she feels lonely and out of place. But soon she meets an elderly woman next door, who shares her love of arts and crafts. Can the girl navigate the changing seasons and failing health of her new friend? One reader called it a gem of a picture book and a joy to read and look at. Ages 3–8.


February 2020


by Micha Archer The people in Daniel’s neighborhood always say, “Have a good day!” But what exactly is a good day? Daniel is determined to find out, and as he strolls through his neighborhood, he finds a wonderful world full of answers as varied as his neighbors. When Daniel puts all these good days together, they make a lovely poem full of his neighbors’ favorite things. If you’re looking for a mentor text about gratitude, this is perfect, a reader said. Ages 3-6.


by Patricia MacLachlan When Louisa is sent to stay with her grandparents for the summer, she’s not looking forward to it. While her brother is determined to find a way to stay on Deer Island forever, Louisa would rather be off having adventures with their globetrotting ornithographer parents. She’s a writer, and there’s nothing on all of Deer Island to write about — right? Louisa discovers that small doesn’t necessarily mean quiet. Ages 8-12.


by Kate Allen Lucy, 12, is the daughter of a former marine biologist and rescue diver, who died when she was young. When a great white shark is caught in the bay, it dredges up feelings of loss for Lucy and her father. But a wonderful cast comes together to help her heal. It’s a book about loss and how we cope with it as individuals and as a community, a reader said, and how we are each important parts of our own local ecosystems. Heartwarming and beautiful. Age 10 and older.


by Stacey Lee By day, Jo Kuan works as a lady’s maid for the daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column, “Dear Miss Sweetie.” When her column becomes wildly popular, the 17-year-old uses the power of the pen to address some of society’s ills, but she’s not prepared for the backlash that follows or the letter that sets off a search into her own past. Ages 12 and older.



Classic Blue How to bring waves of this calming color into your home STORY Lindi Janulewicz PHOTOGRAPHY Tom Kessler


ur team of designers agrees with the industrywide consensus that our lives are not only filled, but muddled, with overscheduling, technology and an everpresent need to move faster and faster through each task and each day. We are silently crying for a sense of calm, peace and replenishment from some source, and Pantone’s Color of the Year, Classic Blue, provides a visual resolution of tranquility. It also translates well in both contemporary and traditional spaces. Here are five ways to inject Classic Blue into your home or office.


Wall covering is a quick way to add color, texture, pattern and drama to a space, large or small. Don’t be afraid

to use a large-scale pattern in a small space like a powder room, or play with natural textures in a great room, bedroom or den. Flocked, metallic and dyed fibers all come in Classic Blue variations.


Whether you prefer the subtle softness of an oceanic scene or the boldness of a modern or contemporary abstract, Classic Blue is at home in all genres of artwork. Find a piece that speaks to you.


Quality home accessories set a home apart. Consider quality, scale and shape before committing to a piece. At the most recent market, Classic Blue could be found in agates, vases, jars,

sculptures, and even soft goods like pillows and throws.


If the ceiling is the fifth wall in your room, then the floor is the sixth. A rug with a splash of Classic Blue might be the perfect anchor for a furniture grouping in a lackluster room.


While we typically stick to neutrals for blinds and shades, window treatments are a whole different landscape for color and pattern play! Cornices and draperies are the jewelry to a room, and the fabrics, fringes, gimps and embellishments for customization are endless. Classic Blue would be stunning in both applications in a multitude of spaces and styles.




THINGS TO TRY THIS MONTH CAMPING FUN If you’re planning a summer camping trip, check out the Wolf and Grizzly campfire cooking set with grill, stand and fire starter. Light weight, quality construction; easy setup. Allows campers to leave no trace. $179,

NO MORE CASH WALL SOLUTION Sam, our 5-year-old tester, gave a thumbs-up to the space-saving Oribel VertiPlay Wall Toy. “This is very neat,” he said as he sent a wooden caterpillar on wheels zigzagging down wooden ramps against a tree-trunk background. While designed for a toddler, Sam turned the wall-mounted Tree Top Adventure into a counting game with each repetition. More Sam’s speed: the Marble Run School Set for STEM lovers. $9.90 to $175.

Kids always seem to need money for something. Prepaid debit cards from FamZoo, GoHenry, Greenlight and others provide finances but control spending, too. Pay allowances, track chores and designate stores where cards can be used; see every transaction, too, with the app. Monthly fees may apply.

TIME TO ORGANIZE GET SLIMED Kids (and adults) will have a blast playing with Slimygloop Slimysand from Horizon Group USA. The goop packs and shapes like sand but also stretches like slime. Add rollers, stamps and molds to inspire even more creative play. Comes in blue, purple, white and pink and stores easily in an airtight bucket or a resealable bag. $7.99,


February 2020

Did you find yourself hunting for utensils over the holidays? The Kuhn Rikon six-piece wave drawer organizer set will end those days forever. Our reviewer especially loved the cutlery tray with grooves for knives. Organizers can be put together any way you like and are easy to clean in the dishwasher. $45,


Making a connection Personalized attention a cornerstone of Huntington’s approach to learning TEXT + PHOTOGRAPHY Scott Stewart


ebbie Sadowski’s experience as an educator runs the

gamut. In her 45 years at Westside Community Schools, she’s been an elementary classroom teacher, a talented and gifted program specialist, and an English language learner interventionalist. She’s worked with students of all ages and levels, and she knows how to guide them in their studies. “I can pretty easily see what that skill gap is and what they need to close that gap,” Sadowski says. For the past decade, she has spent her after-school time working one-on-one with students at Huntington Learning Center, helping struggling readers improve their skills and preparing high school students to ace the ACT and SAT. She enjoys being able to focus on making a direct difference in the academic success of her students. Huntington’s structured curriculum is designed to build skills by first determining precisely what level they have already reached and taking them step-by-step through mastering where they want to be. For many younger students, that’s building math and reading comprehension. But it can also include test preparation or working on higher-level academic skills. “The children who do get to come here

are fortunate, whether they are the ones who are struggling and need to develop skills because they’re behind or whether they’re at the higher end of the spectrum and they just want to become even better,” Sadowski says. Regardless of the client, their age or experience level, Sadowski starts by forming a connection, which allows her to make sure the experience isn’t stressful. “They are a person, first of all,” she says. “You find that way to relate to them, person-to-person, and alleviate any anxiety that they might have.” Huntington’s reading texts are designed to be at a student’s specific instructional level, not their frustration level, so they’re able to apply reading strategies without

becoming discouraged. “It’s a matter of breaking skills down,” Sadowski says. “The strategies that you use to comprehend are strategies that you use no matter what level of text you’re tackling.” Vocabulary is taught through students seeing new words in contexts where students aren’t getting overwhelmed by too much happening at once. “When you’re reading, you’re absorbing what those words mean,” Sadowski says. Similarly, math skills can be improved by focusing on fundamentals, like arithmetic facts and fractions, and using those to solve new problems, like algebra or geometry. “We’re about helping the kids develop the skills they’re going to need,” Sadowski says. “You’ve got to have that solid foundation.” Students receive personalized attention at Huntington. They can zero in on the skills they need to master, with a plan that’s been tailored to their individual needs. Sadowski says students also don’t have the pressure of performing in front of their peers. They can see their teachers as people in a welcoming, supportive learning environment. “They get one-on-one help here,” Sadowski says. “I don’t know whether that takes place anywhere else.”

ABOUT HUNTINGTON Huntington is the tutoring and test prep leader. Its certified tutors provide individualized instruction in reading, phonics, writing, study skills, elementary and middle school math, algebra through calculus, chemistry and other sciences. Huntington offers prep for the SAT and ACT, as well as state and standardized exams. Founded in 1977, Huntington’s mission is to give every student the best education possible. Learn how Huntington can help at www.huntingtonhelps. com. For franchise opportunities please visit 0000102768-01







February acts of 2 Bake cookies and deliver them to the local fire or police station.

3 Text a compliment to a friend

(see pages 16 & 30)



Read a book with a child

Write a letter to the first person who pops into your head (don’t forget to mail it)




Hold the door open for someone


Send a card to

(see page 28)


Leave a note in a library book, like Compliment “You are more a stranger important than you could ever know.” 24 23 25


February 2020

Give high fives to a friend


Leave heads-up someone you pennies on the love, even if they sidewalk live nearby

Make a friendship bracelet and give it to a new friend

Draw or color a picture and mail it to your grandparents


Invite someone new to play on the playground


Thank a teacher 26 Head to the park with some sidewalk chalk and write sweet messages to the world





of kindness 5

(see page 24)



Share a special toy with a friend 12

Make a fleece blanket and donate it

Walk a neighbor’s dog 13

Tell someone how much you love them



Make a special breakfast for a family member


Leave kindness rocks randomly at the park

Put a sticky note with a positive message like, “Today will be awesome,” on a random door


Call a friend or relative and tell them a joke

Do a chore without being asked 15

Use a reusable water bottle

(see pages 22 & 32)


(see page 12)



Help make dinner


“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” — Aesop

Smile at everybody; it’s contagious

29 Look in the mirror and give yourself a compliment 11

Kindness Rocks Craft a tiny reminder that you are capable of amazing things STYLING + PHOTOGRAPHY Heidi Hoffman


February 2020

“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” — Amelia Earhart


t’s a season for sharing love and kindness. Pick up a few small stones on a walk with your kids for this simple at-home craft.

WHAT YOU NEED • Paint markers • Small rocks • Paper • Pencil


1. Select a rock, a phrase and a few favorite colors. 2. Using the paint markers, color any background designs. Wait for the design to dry completely. 3. Draw on a word or phrase expressing kindness or encouragement. 4. Share your completed rocks with friends or place them in a public place, such as a park, for someone to find. TIP: Trace your rock on a blank piece of paper and draw a few mock-up design ideas to make sure the word or phrase fits perfectly on the size of the rock.

Optional Phrases

• You matter. • You are my sunshine. • You are not alone. • You inspire me. • Keep growing, keep glowing. • You make the world a better place. • Life is tough. So are you. • You got this. • You are a rock star. • You light up my life. • Inhale courage, exhale fear. • You are perfect in every way. • You are enough.

Find supplies for this activity at David M. Mangelsen’s



Summer in the spotlight New Rose Studios for Youth Artists puts Omaha kids on stage


his summer will find Omaha kids training for their place in the spotlight, thanks to the expansion of an educational arts facility being launched by The Rose Theater. Young aspiring performers and theater artists ranging in age from 2 to 18 will have a new space to hone their craft when The Rose Studios for Youth Artists opens. This 27,000-square-foot facility, near 120th Street and West Center Road, will open just in time for summer camps and classes. “The Studios for Youth Artists pave a path for more productions made by young people to occur alongside vastly expanded instruction in

acting, dance, voice, design and creative drama,” says Rose artistic director Matthew Gutschick. “With this project, our city will have a world-class facility dedicated solely to the development of youth theater artists. They will be able to learn and practice in an incredible environment that supports their creative journey from preschool all the way through high school. This is a game changer in theater education.” Renovations have begun on the former Gordman’s building at 12100½ West Center Road, and The Rose’s summer camp program will be students’ first opportunity to experience the new 0000102807-01


February 2020


facility. The resulting new space will feature a total of 11 rehearsal spaces for Omaha youth to engage in theatrical disciplines, including: • Five full-size studios on the main floor, most equipped with floor-toceiling mirrors, sprung floors with marley coverings, ballet barres and state-of-the-art sound equipment. • Four classrooms dedicated for acting classes and private and group voice lessons, all equipped with professional caliber keyboards. • A separate studio that will house the theater’s “Art of Theater Design” classes, introducing students as young as 9 to the principles of technical theater: set, costume and prop design, with plans to add options for students to learn about lighting and sound. • A full-size studio in the building’s lower level for additional rehearsal space for both students and the theater’s professional acting company. The building also will include a 200-seat performance space to be used for student productions, mini-recitals, concerts and class sharings. Parents waiting for their students’ classes will enjoy a large public lobby with comfortable seating and digital displays highlighting information about upcoming events. The building will have a secure entry for families and digital student check-in, as well as ample free parking. Between classes and during summer camps, students can lounge in a

100-seat break room that will include areas for eating and doing homework. An abundance of cubbies and coat hooks will help students keep their belongings well-organized, and outside of the rehearsal space. Registration for 2020 Rose camps is open now at www. education/classesand-camps. The Rose’s education programs will continue to be led by Sue Gillespie Booton and Brian Guehring. Booton will lend her expertise to The Rose’s musical theater and dance program, with Guehring leading the theater’s creative drama and summer camp programs. Classes will be taught by professional teaching artists working in the field of dance and drama, giving students real-world insight into the world of theater. The Rose’s program has steadily grown in the number of classes and overall enrollment. More than 800 students enrolled in 150-plus Rose classes and camps during the 2018-19 season. “It is a joy to have the facilities and opportunity to share our love and skills in musical theater, drama and dance with the young people of Omaha and beyond,” says Booton. For more information about The Rose’s camps and classes, visit 0000102808-01


WHAT A TREAT! Offer up mouthwatering cookies in an easy-tomake basket TEXT + STYLING Kiley Cruse

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” — Dalai Lama


February 2020


f you love baking goodies as gifts but want a new way to package them, these baskets are a breeze to make and a treat to receive.

WHAT YOU NEED • White paper plate • Scissors • Ruler


n a trip to Vermont, I happened upon the best peanut butterchocolate chip cookie I’ve ever eaten. Called the Tooth Fairy, it was thick, fudgy and chewy. I looked everywhere for a copycat recipe with no luck. After much trial and error, my adaptation of a recipe from closely resembles this gem. Grab a tall glass of milk and enjoy!

‘Fairy Good’ Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

• Pencil

• 1 cup salted butter (melted and cooled; see directions in Step 1)

• Tape

• 1½ cups granulated sugar

• Ribbon or other decorations

• 2 teaspoons vanilla

• Waxed paper

• 2 eggs

What you do

1. Bend the paper plate in half and pinch the top and bottom edges to mark the center. Using ruler, measure 1½ inches on either side of the pinch mark and draw a line connecting the marks. 2. Make folds along the pencil lines. 3. Using scissors, make four 1¾- to 2-inch cuts along the folds. 4. Bend the two short sections toward the center. 5. Fold all four sides up to create flaps. Wrap the long sides around the end and tape to secure. 6. Decorate the basket with ribbon, stickers, etc. 7. Line with waxed paper to prevent goodies from leaving grease marks. Fill with cookies. Source:

• 3 tablespoons strong coffee • 2 2/ 3 cups all-purpose flour (more if it’s too sticky) • ½ cup cocoa powder • 1 teaspoon baking soda • ½ teaspoon salt • 1 cup mini chocolate chips • 10-ounce bag mini peanut butter cups, chopped

1. Melt butter in the microwave for 30-45 seconds or until completely melted. Transfer to the refrigerator and cool until solid, about 30 minutes. 2. Heat the oven to 350 F. With an electric mixer, cream the melted/solid butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix until just incorporated. 3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture to the creamy butter mixture and mix until incorporated, adding the coffee gradually as you go. The dough should be thick and sticky, but dry enough to touch with your hands without making a huge mess. If it’s still too sticky, add flour. Stir in the chocolate chips and chopped peanut butter cups. 4. Roll the dough into even balls (about 3 dozen) and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 7 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack right away. Cookies will be underdone and super puffy, which makes them perfectly soft, thick and fudgy when cooled. Note: The butter melting and cooling sequence is important. If you don’t melt and cool the butter as directed, the recipe may flop. The process affects the amount of flour needed and ultimately the thickness and fudginess of the cookie. Adapted from

Fold on dotted lines, cut on solid lines.



Opera is for kids, too! Opera Omaha team helps with the introduction


pera Omaha’s Karen Flayhart, director of development, and Lauren Medici, director of engagement programs, along with Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor and Kaitlin Zardetto, Holland Community Opera fellows, talk about introducing children to opera. Q. What was the first opera that you attended and how old were you? Fairchild-Taylor: My first opera was an English touring version of “The Barber of Seville.” I remember it came to my school and I was blown away. Then, a few years ago I got to be in that same production. It was very cool to come full circle. Medici: An Opera Omaha student dress rehearsal of “La Boheme” at age 16, but when I was a kid my favorite tape to listen to in the car (dating myself here) was Mozart’s Magic Fantasy: A Journey Through “The Magic Flute”. We literally wore that tape out. Zardetto: The first opera I attended was an Opera Omaha production of Puccini’s “Turandot” on a sixth-grade field trip. Q. What productions are good first operas for kids? Why? Flayhart: The more humorous operas — e.g. “Falstaff,” are generally great for kids younger than 12. Pre-teens and teenagers would benefit from exposure to the more traditional, popular operas as a true experience. Fairchild-Taylor: “The Barber of Seville,” “The Magic Flute,” “La Boheme,” “Carmen,” “L’enfant et Les Sortilèges,” “The Cunning Little Vixen,” “Hansel and Gretel,” to name a few. Q. Which opera/event(s) this season would you recommend for kids? Why? Medici: The Ensembles in Residence concert at the Durham Museum during Opera Omaha’s ONE Festival will be a fun and interactive way to introduce kids to sound. Also, “The Abduction From The Seraglio” in February is a romantic comedy with gorgeous sets and costumes set in

OPERA OMAHA’S 20192020 SEASON Feb. 7, 9: “The Abduction From The Seraglio” March 20 - April 5: ONE Festival For more information and to purchase tickets visit 1920s Germany. A comic opera is always a fun point of entry for slightly older children. Fairchild-Taylor: “The Abduction From The Seraglio.” Mozart knows how to write great tunes and everyone can appreciate an adventure story.

these come from books or stories that a parent or trusted adult could read with a child and then introduce them to the live opera and talk about the differences or the sounds that the characters made or how they were different from the book versions.

Q. If a parent were unsure about whether to bring a child to the opera, what would you say? Flayhart: As a parent, I view some of the real-life themes (e.g., violence) in these productions as opportunities to have conversations with my children. These issues are still so relevant to our society and to our kids. And let’s be honest: our children are exposed to more ‘adult themes’ every day from video games to movies than is found in an opera. That said, it’s a personal decision. Every family should do what is best for them. — Zardetto: It’s easy to think that the typical genre of tragedy and romance in opera may not be suitable for children — but there are many wonderful ways to introduce children to opera. Most of

Q. What resources or advice would you recommend to prepare a child to attend an opera for the first time? Flayhart: Google the opera and give them the general story line so they know what is going to take place, and watch a few segments online. Make it fun. If your children like to dress up, go for it! If they don’t, let them be comfortable. Arrive early and catch the prelude talk for the opera. The more you know, the more fun it will be. Medici: Read the synopsis together and talk about the story so that there’s a level of familiarity before you get to the theater. If you’re coming to an Opera Omaha production at the Orpheum Theater, we do prelude talks so you can learn even more about the opera. 0000103092-01


February 2020

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FEBRUARY 7 & 9, 2020




ACTING « DANCE « VOICE « The Rose Theater proudly presents:

Youth Artists




YOU are the star of The Rose Theater’s latest “production:” The Rose Studios for Youth Artists! This 27,000-square-foot educational facility (the largest of its kind in the United States) is dedicated to helping Omaha-area student artists discover their talents in musical theater, acting, dance, voice, drama and more. “Rose Kids” join a positive, supportive theater family, led by a staff of professional working theater artists who shine on stage and in the classroom. At The Rose, every child feels like a star, whether they are taking their first steps on stage or have already landed a leading role. Rose classes provide young people with the opportunity to polish their theatrical skills -- and their life skills -- all while having the time of their lives! Enroll in a 2020 summer camp today and be one of the first students in the spotlight at The Rose Studios for Youth Artists!

12100½ West Center Road, Omaha, Nebraska 68144 DoubleTruck-Feb2020.indd 1


February 2020


The perfo educati for yo in

DRAMA ÂŤ MUSICAL THEATER Classes led by professional, working actors

Dance Instruction with a focus on technique

Opportunities for Ages 2-18

Group & Private Voice Lessons

Acting & Drama Classes for All Ages

e largest orming arts ional facility oung artists the US

Performance Opportunities for All Ages & Abilities

27,000 sq ft of classroom space 12/19/19 11:32 AM


“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” — Desmond Tutu


February 2020

Valentine’s Day pancakes What a delicious way to start the day! STYLING, TEXT + PHOTOGRAPHY Kiley Cruse


aking a special Valentine’s Day breakfast is a great way to start the day. Your family will light up at the sight of pancakes with a heartfelt message. Serving them with strawberry purée and whipped cream adds a special flair. After trying these pancakes, you may never eat them with syrup again.

WHAT YOU NEED • Pancake mix • Canned whipped cream • Strawberry purée (recipe follows) • Squeeze bottle


1. Mix pancake batter in a bowl according to package directions. Let batter sit a minute or two then transfer to a squeeze bottle. 2. Heat griddle to 375 F and lightly oil. 3. Using squeeze bottle of batter spell out a message for your Valentine. The trick is to write backward so after you flip the letters the words read correctly. 4. Pour strawberry purée onto plate and top with pancakes. Garnish with whipped cream. Source:

It may take a little practice to write your pancake message backward.

Strawberry PurÉe • 20-ounce bag of frozen unsweetened strawberries or 20 ounces of fresh strawberries • ¼ cup sugar • Freshly squeezed lemon juice, optional

1. Place the unsweetened frozen strawberries in a large bowl and thaw. This may take a few hours. 2. Once thawed, put the strawberries and

their juice in the bowl of a food processor or blender and process the berries until they are puréed. 3. Pour the purée into a 2-cup measuring cup. You should have about 1¼ cups of purée. Add ¼ cup sugar and stir until dissolved. 4. Taste and add sugar, if needed. You can also add a little lemon juice to taste. 5. Store covered in the refrigerator for one week. The sauce can also be frozen. Source:

Find supplies for this activity at David M. Mangelsen’s


JUST CUT + TIE Cozy up to these no-sew fleece blankets STYLING, TEXT + PHOTOGRAPHY Kiley Cruse

“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. “ — Mark Twain

Find supplies for this activity at David M. Mangelsen’s


February 2020


fleece blanket with a tied fringe edge is an easy nosew project for kids and teens. Each blanket takes about 30 minutes from start to finish.

WHAT YOU NEED • 2 coordinating sections of anti-pill fleece, 1.25- to 1.5-yards each for a small lap blanket or large baby blanket; 2- to 2.5-yards each for a larger blanket. • Ruler • Masking tape • Scissors


1. Lay the fleece intended for the back of your blanket right-side down on the floor or other large, flat surface. Smooth the fleece with your hands. 2. Place the fleece intended for the front of the blanket right-side up, atop the back piece of fleece. Smooth the fabric. 3. Square up the layers and trim to desired blanket size. When you purchase fleece by the yard, it almost always needs to be trimmed and straightened. At the very least, cut off the selvage edge. 4. Now you’re ready to fringe the

edges all around. For an even fringe cut, measure 5 inches from the blanket edge and lay down masking tape as a horizontal guide. Overlap the tape so it anchors to the floor to hold the fleece in place. Repeat on all sides of the blanket. 5. Cut out the corner squares with scissors. 6. Next, start fringing the edges by cutting through the double thicknesses of fleece to the masking tape guide. Make your fringed strips 1 to 2 inches wide. The fringe cuts may not come out even on their own. To avoid a tiny or huge strip at the end of a section, doublecheck yourself on each side of the blanket with 18 inches left to cut. If the width of the strips doesn’t divide evenly into that length, adjust the width of the strips slightly. 7. Join the top and bottom pieces of fleece by tying their fringed edges together. Use tight knots but try not to pull the fabric too much or it will pucker. Continue tying until you have worked your way all around the blanket. Remove any remaining masking tape guides, and your blanket is ready to use or pass on to someone as a gift. Note: This project is well-suited for kids ages 8 and older. Adapted from



Fall in love with the YMCA How the 10 golden rules of working out can help your relationship


ith love, there are no rules”, someone once said. Turns out, there are rules that can help. It’s no secret that working out and staying healthy is hard. It requires discipline, dedication and effort. It’s also no secret that love is hard. It requires discipline, dedication and effort. But both, when done with the right approach and mindset, can be the best thing that’s ever happened to you. Here are 10 golden rules for working out and how they can benefit love and relationships along the way.





When approaching a workout routine, have a plan and track your progress. In a relationship, you have to work at staying healthy and happy.

A warmup routine will keep you nimble and help prevent injuries. In love, warming up to someone is essentially the name of the game.



While cardio is important, too many people get stuck on the treadmill, suffering the consequences of a routine workout with no variety. Relationships, too, can suffer from routine; a little spice and excitement keep it fun and interesting.



A good workout routine knows where it’s going, as should a loving relationship.





It can be easy to skip the weights, opting for a less strenuous workout, but when you do the heavy lifting, it pays in spades. In a relationship, when you give the extra effort to carry more of the load, the payback can be sweet. No one likes to fall off the treadmill or bail from the balance board. A properly balanced relationship requires close attention and acute coordination, so as not to drift apart.



If yoga has taught us anything, it’s the importance of breathing, allowing for a moment of clarity to see things as they truly are. Taking the time to breathe in a relationship is of paramount importance too.





Take time after your workout to reflect on what you’ve accomplished, to better prepare for your next session. In love and relationships, it’s also beneficial to reflect on where you’ve been and where you’re going.

In today’s busy world, sometimes a workout is simply not in the cards, and that’s OK. Better not to push it, or you could push it too far.



You’re not going to go very far with anything if it’s not fun. Yes, it’s important, but keep it light and that’ll help get you there. Let the YMCA help you with all your health and wellness goals, with more than 600 group fitness classes every week. Visit 0000102821-01


February 2020



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POP-UP CARD Show your love with 3D hearts



February 2020

‘Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless.” — Mother Teresa


n the age of email, receiving a postmarked card can be special. But a handmade card is reason to celebrate. This 3D heart card can be sent for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day or “just because.”

WHAT YOU NEED • Colored paper, 8.5-by-11 inches • Patterned cardstock • Heart template, found on • Glue stick • Scissors • Markers


1. Fold 8½-by-11-inch paper in half for a large card or in fourths for a small card. 2. Download the multiple heart template at Choose the size of heart you would like for the center of your card and cut out three versions using paper in a color different from your card. 3. Fold each heart in half. Using a glue stick, apply glue to one-half of one of the hearts. Line up and place another heart half on the glue to attach them together. Repeat this step to glue each of the three hearts together. After the hearts are glued together, you will have a 3D heart shape. 4. Add glue to the back of the 3D heart and place heart on the inside middle crease of your card. 5. Cut out additional hearts of varying sizes for decoration using solid paper or patterned cardstock. 6. Use a glue stick to glue the additional paper hearts on the front and inside of your card. Make sure to leave room on the inside of the card for a personal message. 7. Using markers, write a special message inside the card, place in stamped envelope and mail. Adapted from

Find supplies for this activity at David M. Mangelsen’s


“Kindness gives birth to kindness”. — Sophocles

WAFER YOUR WAY Sprinkles make sweet treat even sweeter to eat STYLING, TEXT + PHOTOGRAPHY Kiley Cruse


prinkles are sugar-coated happiness. They’re sweet toppers for almost any dessert and come in a rainbow of colors, shapes and sizes — especially around Valentine’s Day. So don’t hold back in dressing up these white chocolate-dipped wafers. They’re so easy, the kids can get into the act of decorating and delivering a batch for their favorite Valentines!


February 2020

STRAWBERRY VALENTINE SUGAR WAFERS • White almond bark or candy melts • Strawberry sugar wafers • Assorted sprinkles

1. Melt about half of the almond bark according to package instructions. Lay out a sheet of parchment paper.

2. Dip each wafer halfway into the white chocolate coating. Place the dipped wafers on the parchment paper and immediately decorate with sprinkles. Allow chocolate to harden. 3. Place cookies in an air-tight container to keep them from going stale. Source:

Find supplies for this activity at David M. Mangelsen’s

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Break up your morning routine with this smart snack



February 2020


ogurt bark screams, “Hey, I care about you!” Go ahead, take a square and with every bite, just know that this fun treat is packed with the good stuff made by Mother Nature.

Blackberry Yogurt Bark • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt • 1 cup blackberries • 2 tablespoons honey (optional) • ½ tablespoon cinnamon (optional) • ½ cup granola (optional)

1. Blend 1 cup plain Greek yogurt and 1 cup blackberries. Optional: Add 2 tablespoons honey and ½ tablespoon cinnamon and blend. 2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. 3. Pour yogurt mixture on baking sheet and top with additional blackberries and granola or mixed nuts. 4. Place in freezer until hardened. 5. Once completely frozen, break apart and serve immediately. Place extra servings in plastic bag and return to freezer.

“There’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” — Scott Adams, Dilbert cartoonist 33

In the moment TEXT Kelly McQuillan, The Washington Post

Parents, put the camera down and treasure the time with your children

having with their kids. During a time when just making it through the day often felt like a big achievement, I started to feel like I was falling short of expectations. Stealthy whispers, accusations of “not enough” began to needle their way into my mind s I nursed my newborn son in during the lonely darkness of night (of the wee hours of a chilly fall course), but also during the milestone night, my eyelids drooped. In an moments of first steps, first words and attempt to stay awake, I began to scroll first kisses. through social media on my phone It didn’t occur to me then that a social and, unfortunately, it became a habit. media feed is a construct, or rather, a Like many new moms, I follow a lot train of constructs. When we post, it’s of parenting pages, and tropes of the all about making life seem a certain current cult of motherhood filled my way, even though the reality beyond screen, eyes and mind each and every the Instagram frames of smiling faces night. and spectacular activities might be Seemingly innocuous expressions much different. As viewers, we see such as, “savor every moment,” “they what people want us to see. The glaring won’t be this little for long,” and “the personal irony of this whole situation is days are long but the years are short,” that while I was focused on creating and proliferated in my feeds. But to my saving moments (and at the same time postpartum mind, they carried an mourning and feeling insecure about ominous subtext — that the best time them), I wasn’t, in fact, savoring much of of parenting is when kids are very young anything. and it will all be gone in a flash, so you’d Close to my son’s second birthday, I better make the most of every second or gave myself a shake. My hard drive ran else face a lifetime of regret. out of space, and you can guess what it I fell into a sort of anticipatory was full of. When I looked back through nostalgia and mourning. A panicked the myriad photos and videos of my need to hold onto the fleeting moments son’s first two years, I discovered there SHOPPE • HIZ & HERZ of my son’s ever-changingKIDZ life consumed were many moments I didn’t actually Kidz with Shoppe and Hiz & Herz Consignment Sales me, and I over-documented remember because I had been so busy in West Omaha. See our websites for information photos, videos and detailed missives. focusing getting a good shot, or and upcoming saleon dates. Looking back, I see that this went capturing a perfect expression. The knife KIDZSHOPPEOMAHA.COM way beyond being a proud parent. twisted even more when I observed that HIZANDHERZOMAHA.COM My behavior had two key motivators: I was only in a handful of the photos fear and guilt. Fear, because I couldn’t — during those important times, I was possibly capture all the moments behind a camera instead of beside my before they disappeared forever. Guilt, son. Now that is something to mourn. because in addition to the “inspirational” Fortunately, I’ve been able to step mommy posts in my news feed, I was out of this cycle of fear, anxiety, guilt also viewing a steady, picture-perfect and mourning. I’ve learned to accept montage of all the creative, exciting and that children do not require intricately planned, continuously exciting activities magical experiences my friends were


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February 2020

to make their childhoods memorable. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I take my son out into nature or invite him into the kitchen and we spend time together, doing whatever it is we happen to be doing. Of course, we occasionally have special outings like farm visits or water parks, but the key is that we cherish each other’s company, wherever we are, even if our activities aren’t Pinterestworthy. My son is growing. He is getting older, just as we all do. Instead of mourning the fact that I can barely carry him anymore (40 pounds — oof ), or premourning that one day he won’t so readily encircle me with his chubby little T-shirt-tanned arms, I’m doing my best to soak it all in and appreciate him just as he is each day. Recognizing the joy and pride in his eyes when he makes a new advance or declares, “Mama, I grew again!” reminds me that changes and growth should be celebrated. And the beauty of constant change is that there is always something new to celebrate! I’m getting better at leaving my phone in my pocket, realizing that, instead of 20 photos of my son splashing in the rising tide at the beach, one or two will suffice; my time is much better spent kicking off my shoes and joining him. I hear the music of his laughter, see the sparkle of the sun on the water drops, feel the contrast of the warm breeze with the cool water and the way his wet little hand slips into mine, smell the rotting seaweed (hey, it’s all part of the experience), and taste the salt on my tongue. Mindfully doing this has helped me understand that when you truly savor a moment in this way, when you drink it in and let it infuse all of your senses, there is no need to save it — it’s become a part of you.


Keeping smiles healthy Prioritizing preventive dental care saves family time, money Registered dental hygienist Shelby Hardin reviews proper brushing techniques with Madeline Bass.

STORY Dan McCann PHOTOGRAPHY Chris Christen


arker Bass, 5, knows how important it is to take good care of his teeth. He’s dedicated to the

core. “I ate an apple today,” the kindergartner volunteers in the waiting room of Premier Dental. For about two years now, Parker and his big sister Madeline, 7, have been going to Premier Dental for regular checkups. Erin Bass, their mother, appreciates how the Omaha dental clinic accommodates her family’s busy schedule for the twice-yearly visits. “They really make it easy,” she says. “We’ll always make our appointments six months out. They’re great about scheduling around school.” To meet popular demand, Premier Dental offers early morning, lunchtime, evening and Saturday appointments, which means less time away from school and work. There’s also availability to schedule the whole family — all ages — for the same appointment time, which means fewer trips to the dental office. “Our families love that,” says Shelby Hardin, one of seven registered dental hygienists. “It just makes sense.” The office’s investment in convenience and accessibility stems from the importance of preventive dental care. “When you come in for regular dental care, we’re able to catch problems early,” Hardin says. “As dental problems become worse, patients need more extensive treatment. That often means more time away from work or school.” Bass sees preventive care as another

way that she and her husband can ensure that their kids thrive. “We want to make sure their teeth and mouths are healthy so they can focus on school,” she says. A 2012 study by Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry at the University of Southern California underscored the link between poor oral health, dental disease and tooth pain, and lower grades, more missed school and more missed work. The study found, on average, that elementary children, like Madeline and Parker, missed six days per year – 2.1 days due to dental problems. Parents missed an average of 2.5 days of work per year to care for children with dental problems. It’s a strong case for preventive care — a case that Premier Dental is making year-round and with added emphasis in February, Children’s Dental Health Month. Beyond convenient scheduling, the office offers additional avenues for parents to save either time and money fortifying their children’s dental health. • Say yes to sealants. “For the most part, we try to seal all teeth with pits and grooves. It’s much less expensive to invest in dental sealants than in cavity treatment,” Hardin says. “It’s also a lot faster to get sealants at your regular checkup appointment than to rearrange your schedule for a return visit to treat the tooth decay.” • Fluoride for all. “Everybody — even if you’re 99 — can benefit from fluoride treatments,” Hardin says. • No-hassle access to affordable, quality dental care. Premier Dental’s Premier

Advantage Plan — a dental discount plan and alternative to dental insurance — offers individual, dual and family options. Each plan member receives two comprehensive exams a year, which include a doctor’s exam, X-rays, a general cleaning, and a fluoride treatment. The program also offers discounts on sealants, additional cleanings, laser teeth whitening, crowns, veneers, implants, Invisalign orthodontics and more. During Children’s Dental Health Month, Premier Dental also is reminding parents to not let their oral health slip. Periodontal disease has been linked to premature births, as well as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Erin Bass doesn’t need convincing. “To me, going to the dentist is just like having an annual physical (exam),” she says. “I feel it’s super important.” Better yet, she doesn’t have to coerce Madeline and Parker into going to Premier Dental twice a year. “They enjoy coming because of the fun toys in the waiting room,” Bass says. “The staff is always very friendly and good about talking through what they’re going to do before they do anything. Plus, the kids enjoy getting to watch cartoons while they’re in the dental chair.” Premier Dental provides stateof-the-art cosmetic, general, neuromuscular, and family dentistry to patients in Omaha, Lincoln and surrounding communities. To book an appointment and learn more about the PremierAdvantage Plan, visit www. or call 402-718-8741. 0000103099-01


GET ORGANIZED AMY TOKOS Amy Tokos is a Certified Professional Organizer and the owner of Freshly Organized. You can find more organizing tips at

Winter gear got you down? Use a snow day to tame the pile


ith kids and cold weather comes winter gear. It’s a lot, it’s bulky and it can be a mess. The month of February, when we’re in the throes of cold weather, is the best time to tackle the mess. On a snowy day, when the kids are getting ready to go out to play, gather all the hats, gloves, mittens and scarves, plus anything else worn in cold weather. Have the children put on their favorite and warmest gear. Pay attention to what they pass over, then send the kids out to play. While the kids are outside, gather and bag items they no longer will wear or no longer need. Hold back a few items for guests, plus a few items that the kids might wear as they grow. Next, sort the adult items the same way. Create containers (baskets, boxes or bins) for each type of gear. Adult gear, guest/extra gear and active kid gear. The guest and adult gear can go on a top shelf of your closet; the children’s gear should be where


February 2020

they can reach it. Consider a separate children’s box for snow gear along with everyday cold-weather gear. I love having a cubby for each kid but if that’s not possible, an overthe-door pocket shoe organizer works well. Label pockets for each child so that they will know where their stuff belongs. Sort through the kids’ bins a second time. Transfer anything that’s good but not likely to be needed this season to the guest bin on a high shelf. Move extra snow boots to a shelf in the garage or other extra storage space. Keeping only high-use snow gear in the closet will help control the clutter. Next, organize the snow toys, sleds and snowman accessories. Have a place where all of this can be stored together. Typically, the garage works well. Create or designate a landing zone for wet snow gear. Hooks by the back door work well. Place a rubber mat on the floor for wet boots. The mat also can catch any snow on hats, gloves and coats that didn’t get brushed off before your kids burst through the door.

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Increase flexibility Shifting perspectives can make relationships more satisfying


frequently counsel couples on relationships and romantic partnerships. Oftentimes, I draw from my own marital adventures in offering advice. Here are a few insights from personal and professional experience that could make your life and your relationship more satisfying. Foremost, relationships – specifically romantic partnerships – require a good bit of cognitive flexibility. This is an ability to entertain different perspectives. Why is this important? Because it could, much to your surprise, make you a happier person.


Anniversaries, birthdays, Valentine’s Day and other key dates in a relationship are important to acknowledge. It’s easy to feel slighted if your partner forgets a special date. But we all forget things – especially when there are a million things


February 2020

to remember. Forgetting an anniversary or blanking on a birthday doesn’t always mean the worst. It likely means we were focused on something different as the date closed in. If a coming holiday or event is important to you, communicate it. For instance, my husband and I recently had our fifth wedding anniversary. We don’t usually celebrate our anniversary, so I knew I had to remind him that it was five years, and I was expecting something more than the traditional “I love you. Have a great day.” I wanted an evening out with a nice dinner and a special gift. So I sent him a meeting request. Romantic, right? Well, lucky for me, he agreed. My husband lives and dies by his calendar, and often is looking only a day or two in advance. Because, let’s face it, there’s a lot to do with full-time jobs and two young children. Continued on Page 40

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Continued from Page 38 Through the years, I’ve shifted my perspective that romance must be spontaneous. The reward for my cognitive flexibility was a night that went above and beyond my expectations. Let your partner know what’s important to you. Don’t be shy because it’s likely also important to them.


One of my favorite tips for couples, and a skill that has helped my marriage, is to avoid promises that you can’t or don’t plan to keep. For example, the issue might be something minor like squeezing the toothpaste from the middle of the tube instead of the end, or something scary like forgetting to lock the front door, or even something as serious as yelling during arguments. When a loved one asks us to change a behavior, it can almost be a reflex for us to say, “Sure, I’ll make that change.” Because often what they are asking is reasonable, or it’s so bothersome to them that we don’t want to be nagged about it anymore. The problem comes when we say, “Yes, I can do that,” and don’t change the behavior. I grew up in the country, and we never locked our doors. My husband grew up in the inner-city of New Orleans. Locking the door was habitual. I don’t feel unsafe here, so frequently, I forget to lock the door. It drives him crazy. Because it’s something that bothers him, and because I want him to feel safe, I try to remember. Unfortunately, I have a track record of forgetting. Not keeping my promise was causing a problem, so I did something to change my behavior. I placed a sticky note on my bathroom mirror. At night, when I brush my teeth, I see the sticky note and remember to lock the door.


This one is from a new friend. She has four children and a wonderful, yet eccentric, husband. He’s always a little short on the details; she’s an over-planner. Opposites attract, right? Despite differing personalities, they make it work. This summer, she shared her primary cognitive shift that saved her sanity. She said that over her marriage, she has convinced herself that the way he does some things isn’t wrong; it’s just different. “It usually takes (him) way longer than it would have taken me,” she said. “It’s inefficient. It isn’t how I would do it in the slightest.” She had to decide – is it worth having an argument every time his way of doing something differs from mine? She decided different isn’t wrong, and she has been happily married for more than 15 years. After all, nobody is perfect. So for 2020, if you’re looking for a change in your relationship, try shifting perspective, get creative and follow through on your promises. Oh! And feel free to make rules about how you want to argue, so at the end of the day, communication stays open, and hopefully, you find a bit more satisfaction in your relationship. Beth Farrell is a licensed clinical social worker in the University of Nebraska Medical Center Department of Psychiatry. She focuses on treating persons with anxiety disorder, trauma, addiction issues, relationship concerns and those living with severe and persistent mental illnesses.

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As a kid, I had to yell the loudest if I wanted to be heard in my family. My husband came from a family where you calmly communicated your needs – if you communicated your needs at all. For him to speak up to my boisterous self could be very intimating at times, and it could stop progress and actual communication. So for a few years, there was a communication barrier in our relationship. One night we argued, and in frustration, my husband said, “I just need you to promise never to yell again.” I almost agreed to that, but then I realized that was never going to happen. I’m not a quiet person. However, I could promise that if I did start to get too loud, he could point it out. He could ask me to bring my animated voice down a bit and/or take a break. For the last three or four years, it has really helped. When we argue, I tend to get very passionate. While I may not be screaming, I am very loud. And although I am speaking, he can’t actually hear me because I’m overloading his sympathetic nervous system. Now, we wait until I can temper my response, and in a way, he can hear me.

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Momaha February 2020  

Momaha February 2020