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momaha.com

volume 8 · issue 6 JuNe

Outdoor play. It’s a hoot! Setting online boundaries

GET ORGANIZED Road-trip ready

2017


When it’s    an upset tummy Boys Town pediatric specialists are here to help.                                  

Learn more about our Pediatric Specialties and meet our doctors at boystownpediatrics.org


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YOUR PLACE FOR SUMMER FUN

2nd Thursday Every Month • 10:30-11:30am FREE TO ATTEND Dinos on the Loose

String Beans

Open Play

Nebraska Medicine Bellevue Amphitheater

Nebraska Medicine Bellevue Amphitheater

Shadow Lake Towne Center Sprayground

JUNE 8

JULY 12

AUGUST 10

Open Memorial Day to Labor Day 11am-6pm Weather permitting

Visit ShadowLakeShopping.com/events for more information Highway 370 & 72nd Street | Papillion | 402.537.0046 1999584-01

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HAVE FUN MAKE FRIENDS BUILD CHARACTER

REGIS SATU TER BY R JULY 1DAY, 5!

Fall Youth Sports

Teams are forming now - Register online or at your YMCA Welcome Center!

VOLLEYBALL

SOCCER

• Recreational: 1st grade - High School • Fundamental: Kindergarten - 6th grade • Competitive: 5th - 8th grade

• Recreational: 3 years - Kindergarten 1st - 8th grade • Fundamental: Kindergarten - 6th grade

FLAG FOOTBALL

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• Recreational: Kindergarten 1st - 8th grade • Fundamental: Kindergarten - 6th grade

• Recreational: 3 years - Kindergarten 1st grade - High School • Fundamental: Kindergarten - 6th grade

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SAFE & LOVING QUALITY CHILD CARE

momaha where moms connect VOLUME 8 . ISSUE 6 . JUNE 2017 editor in chief CHRIS CHRISTEN chris.christen@owh.com 402-444-1094

creative director + designer HEIDI THoRSoN hthorson@owh.com 402-444-1351

assistant editor kIm CaRpENTER kim.carpenter@owh.com 402-444-1416

momaha.com editor aSHlEE CoffEy ashlee.coffey@owh.com 402-444-1075

production coordinator paT R I C I a “ m U R p H y � B E N o I T

content contributors kIlEy CRUSE amy TokoS H E aT H E R W I N k E l

account manager DEB mcCHESNEy deb.cavalier@owh.com 402-444-1448

account executive SaRa BakER sara.baker@owh.com 402-444-1442

account executive G ay l I D D E l l gay.liddell@owh.com 402-444-1489

account executive

   

E m I ly m a R T I N emily.martin@owh.com 402-444-1411

Call today for a tour | 402-451-0787

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 2017 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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www.nchs.org


SKYHAWK SUMMER CAMPS Visit skyhawkcamps.com to register. SOFTBALL SHOW CHOIR BASEBALL QUARTERBACK VOLLEYBALL KIDDIE CHEER CLINIC MIDDLE SCHOOL BAND TENNIS DANCE VOLLEYBALL GIRLS BASKETBALL SOCCER BOYS VOLLEYBALL BOYS BASKETBALL TENNIS

May 30 - June 1 June 1(One Day Only) June 5 - 7 June 5 - 7 June 5 - 8 June 5 - 8 June 5 - 9 June 12 -14 June 12 -14 June 12 -15 June 12 - 15 June 12 -15 June 16 (One Day Only) June 19 - 22 July 10-12

Ages 8 -14 Grades 3 - 8 Ages 8 -14 Grades 7 - 8 Grades 6 - 8 Age 4 - Grade 6 Grades 6 - 8 Ages 5 -14 Grades K - 8 Grades 2 - 5 Grades 2 - 8 Grades 1 - 8 Grades 4 - 8 Grades 4 - 8 Ages 5 - 14

9am -12pm 9am - 5pm 9am -12pm 9am - 12pm 9am - 12pm 8am - 12pm 1pm - 4:30pm 9am - 10am 9am - 11am 10am - 12pm 1pm - 4pm 9am - 11am 10am - 12pm 1pm - 4pm 9am - 10am

3131 S 156 Street • Omaha, NE 68130 • 402.333.0818

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CONTENTS

Real MoMs + aDVICe

8 Editor’s Column 10 On Our Radar 12 Be Well 14 Momaha Bookshelf 30 Life Online: A Parent’s Guide 32 Get Organized

DIY + oUTDooR FUN 16 Easy Father’s Day Cards 20 Nature-Inspired Crafts 24 Parks to Explore 25 Constellation Cards 26 Trail Mix Recipes

oN THe CoVeR

Photo: Chris Christen 23 Clay Owl Craft

Summer Discovery Days May 30-August 15th, 2017 • 12 one week sessions Omaha Christian Academy’s Summer Program is offering an exciting summer filled with Christ-centered instruction, outdoor fun, creative & stimulating indoor activities and projects, swimming, new friends and more.

To sign up, contact the school office at 402-399-9565 6


WHAT IF EVERYONE CARED LIKE FAMILY? Would we listen more? Help more? Protect more? At CHI Health Clinic, we understand the power of family. That’s why we have a location right around the corner — with providers you can trustand who know you as neighbors. Because this is more than us helping patients. This is family — always there when it counts.

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MoMaHa.coM editor // aSHlee coffey Wife to Kevin Coffey, music critic for the Omaha World-Herald. Mom to Sam and Elliott. Follow her on Twitter: @ashleecoffeyowH

H

Reading: a summeR ‘must’

appy summer! The kids are out of school and it’s time to have some fun — pool parties, trips to the zoo, days at the beach, the list goes on. But while summer should be a time to relax and play, it shouldn’t be a complete break from learning. Nearly all students show a decline in test scores between the beginning and end of summer. On average, students lose more than two months of math computation skills and one to two months of reading skills, according to Amanda Setlak, a licensed psychologist with the Boys Town Center for Behavioral Health Psychology.

One way to help battle summer learning loss is to participate in summer school or summer reading programs, which are offered at many local libraries and even include prize incentives. In addition to keeping up, kids also receive many health benefits from reading. To see the complete list, turn to Kim Carpenter’s story on page 12. If you’re looking for books to enjoy with your child, check out the Momaha Bookshelf for our latest recommendations, page 14. Have fun!

Get Social Facebook /momahacom

TwiTTer @momaha_owh PinTeresT /momahaowh insTaGraM /momaha_owh

SUMMER CAMPS 132nd & Millard Ave.

www.schoolofrock.com 402.691.8875 8


T H E ROS E T H E AT E R P R E S E N TS

A musical based on the play by Sir J.M. Barrie Lyrics by Carolyn Leigh. Music by Morris (Moose) Charlap Additional Lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Additional Music by Jule Styne Originally Directed, Choreographed and Adapted by Jerome Robbins

JUNE 2 - 18, 2017

Fridays at 7 pm • Saturdays at 2 pm • Sundays at 2 pm Fly to the second star to the right and straight on ’til morning— on the adventure of a lifetime. Featuring fabulous flying effects, Peter Pan is the perfect show for the child in all of us! PETER PAN is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. www.MTIShows.com

TICKETS $27 Main Floor $22 Balcony

Show Sponsored By:

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W W W. ROS E T H E AT E R .O RG 9


On OUR RADAR // EDitOR’s picks

SAVE THE SPILLS

Your wee one has graduated from bottles and sippy cups but can’t quite handle drinks without spills. And juice boxes with all their squeezing often lead to sticky leaks. The GCAP, a washable, reusable silicone cover, stretches over bottle tops and has a slot for a straw. Bottles might tip over, but messes are minimal. Universal for water, milk and juice bottles. thegcap.com, $5.99

THINGS TO TRY THIS MONTH PUCKER UP

Summer is a time for lightweight makeup, but you still want your lips to have that perfect, just-blotted look. GLOSSIER’S GENERATION G LIPSTICK achieves that, and as a bonus, it doubles as a subtle blusher in a pinch. We’re ready for our close-up. Glossier.com, $18

FRY IT RIGHT

Make sure your eggs hit the pan with a sizzle every time with the T-FAL COLOR LUXE HARD TITANIUM NONSTICK THERMO-SPOT FRY PAN. A heat indicator in the center of the pan signals when it’s the perfect temperature. No more starting a sauté or frying an egg at sub-optimal heat. Bonus: you use less oil in the pan and cleanup is a breeze. Amazon.com, $34.99

TAME YOUR TRESSES

Summer is tough on kids. Especially their hair. All that time in pools, lakes and oceans does a number on it. The FAIRY TALES HAIR CARE SUN AND SWIM line of shampoo, conditioner and cabana spray keeps kids’ hair healthy, strong and clean. fairytaleshaircare.com, $11.95 each

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KEEP IT CLEAN – AND DRY

When the weather heats up, families head to pools, lakes and oceans to cool off. Messy, wet swimsuits are the inevitable byproduct. Get them home without damaging your beach bags (or car) with the washable, waterproof BUMKINS WET BAG. Available in both kiddie and grown-up patterns, they’re also ideal for soiled cloth diapers or other dirty clothes. bumkins.com, starting at $10.95


FITNESS ADVICE YOU CAN FOLLOW. Fitness and Nutrition tips, recipes, videos and more!

HEALTHYKOHLSKIDS.COM BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

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ADVICE FOR A BETTER LIFE COMPILED by Momaha Magazine

Do your kids have summer reading? Some schools require students to read three to five books over summer break. The Omaha Public Library offers its popular summer reading program, complete with prize incentives. Turns out reading words on actual paper pages offers all kinds of health benefits. Here are just a few. IN LA VISTA

FLIP A PAGE, MELT STRESS

Summer Kids Camps and Teen Nights filling up fast! TEEN NIGHTS (6:30 PM - 9:00 PM) June 6 – This Kiss June 27 – Galaxy July 11 – Stripes July 25 – Game of Dragons

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KIDS CAMPS (8:30 AM - 1:30 PM) June 12 - 16 – Princess for a Week June 12 - 16 – Pirates and Paint June 19 - 23 – It’s a Zoo in Here July 17 - 21 – Summer Fun July 24 - 28 – Christmas in July & Other Holidays

You might be stressed in your personal life, at work, even taking care of your family, but becoming lost in a good story can help all that tension melt away. You’re transported to other places, times and even worlds, so you leave the present moment for something far, far away. lifehack.org

www.pinotspalette.com/lavista

READ AND RELATE

Books are ideal ways for kids to develop empathy. Just reading an author’s words puts them in another person’s place. They develop connections that, even though they are typically fictional, help them experience someone else’s emotions and points of view while also learning to be humble. Huffington Post

BOOST THAT IQ

It might seem self-evident, but reading can raise IQ points and make you smarter. Think of your brain as a muscle; the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. Tablets and eBooks don’t quite cut it. There is something about flipping physical pages that engages the brain to make greater connections, stimulate imaginations, process words and analyze sentence structure. Dust off that library card and head to your nearest library! Toyourhealth.com

STAY ON TASK

MAY 26 – JUNE 25

Cellphones, tablets and video games have contributed to shorter attention spans, and that inability to focus doesn’t bode well for adulthood. Reading, though, can help kids concentrate not only better but also for much longer. There’s nothing like a suspenseful book to keep a child engrossed. Selfhelpfix.com

SHARPEN SOCIAL SKILLS

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Music by Alan Menken | Lyrics by Howard Ashman & Tim Rice | Book by Linda Woolverton | Originally Directed by 2024609-01 Robert Jess Roth | Originally Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions | Directed By Kimberly Faith Hickman

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You probably know that reading enhances vocabulary. But did you know it also makes you more socially adept? People who read score higher on tests measuring emotional intelligence and social perceptions, which in turn are valuable skills when intuiting a person’s body language on the job. Think about the benefits in the workplace! New York Times


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RETRAIN YOUR BRAIN

SUMMER CAMP

Where campers connect with their passions and explore new ones!

Discover foreign languages!

Dabble in the arts!

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Check out our summer camp offerings: 400 N. Happy Hollow Blvd. • 402.556.3772

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New picks hot off the presses, straight to you COMPILED by Momaha Magazine

NOT QUITE NARWHAL

Jessie Sima (Simon & Schuster) Kelp has grown up in the ocean and always thought he was a narwhal – but he’s always been just a little different. He’s not a super swimmer, he doesn’t like the food and his horn is not as long. One night, the sea sweeps him to a place where he finds “land narwhals,” or magical unicorns. Kelp doesn’t know which world he belong in, but this beautifully illustrated tale recounts how he solves his dilemma. Ages 3-7

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DAD AND THE DINOSAUR

Gennifer Choldenko, Dan Santat (G.P. Putnam’s Sons) Nicholas is afraid of the dark, giant bugs and the undersides of manhole covers. His dad, he thinks, isn’t afraid of anything. To be brave, Nicholas needs a dinosaur – one that fits in his pocket and he can take everywhere. One day, though, he loses his dinosaur, so dad helps him find it. A sweet book for Father’s Day. Ages 5-8

MOUSE SCOUTS CAMP OUT

Sarah Dillard (Random House) In this third adventure in the series, the Acorn Scouts are ready to earn their “Wilderness Survival” badges with a camp out. Filled with campfire ghost stories, a thunderstorm and some poison ivy, the book is perfect to tuck into a backpack destined for summer camp. Ages 7-10

THE CASTLE IN THE MIST

Amy Ephron (Philomel Books) Tess and her brother, Max, are sent to spend their summer with their aunt in a village in the English countryside, where WiFi is rare. They find an old brass key that unlocks an ornately carved gate. Beyond they find a rose garden, hedge mazes and a boy named William. But that’s where the adventure begins. The world at this castle is filled with magic and wonder. Ages 8-12

WELL, THAT WAS AWKWARD

Rachel Vail (Penguin Young Readers) Gracie learns that AJ, her secret crush, likes her best friend Sienna. In a contemporary retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac, Gracie helps Sienna compose texts to AJ. Funny and poignant, the story is partially told through texts, centering the book squarely within the world in which most middle-schoolers live their social lives. Ages 11 and older


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5 cards for every kind of dad This Father’s Day, surprise Dad with a homemade card that says, “You’re worth the extra effort!” CRAFTS + PHOTOGRAPHY Heather WInkel

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Dump Truck FooTprinT 1. Using non-toxic yellow paint,

coat the bottom of your child’s foot. 2. Have your child “stamp” his footprint on 8.5-x-11-inch cardstock. Let dry. 3. Using a circle punch, create two wheels from black cardstock. Using the same black cardstock, cut out a smoke pipe and two small windows. Cut a yellow scoop from yellow cardstock. 4. Glue shapes onto the truck so that the toe imprint creates the front end. 5. Using small letter stamps and an ink pad, stamp the words “I love you loads."

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Hooked on You 1. Use a circle punch to make confetti from brightly colored tissue paper. 2. Wearing

rubber gloves and using a foam brush, apply Mod Podge to a wooden fish. 3. Attach confetti pieces to the fish, applying Mod Podge as you go. Continue until fish is covered, then let dry. 4. Fill a glassine bag with gummy worms and tie with string. 5. Print the tag template available at momaha.com on 8.5 x 11 cardstock, cut along dotted lines, punch a small hole and tie onto bag with string. 6. Using a small brush, paint one half of a wooden ball with acrylic red. This is your bobber. 7. Find a stick to use as a fishing pole and string the pole with fishing line. Attach the bobber to the string about halfway up the stick. Tie the other end of the string about an inch from the end of the pole.

DIY DAD CARDS

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Tanks aquariuM 1. Place a sheet of

paper with a water design (either preprinted or painted yourself ) inside a clear glassine bag or zip-top bag. 2. Fill bag with blue glitter and paper fish and tape at top. 3. Print card template available at momaha.com on 8.5 x11 cardstock and fold in half. 4. Using an X-ACTO knife, carefully cut out the inside part of the fishbowl. 5. Tape the clear bag full of fish to the inside of the card so that the fish can be seen through the fishbowl cutout on the front.

#1 DaD 1. Print finger

Hero Mask 1. Print template available at momaha.com on 8.5 x 11 cardstock and cut along dotted lines. 2. Slide hero mask (purchased or made from craft foam sheet) around card and secure elastic on back with a small piece of tape.

template available at momaha.com on 8.5 x 11 cardstock. 2. Cut out template shape with scissors. Choose either the pre-printed design or the blank version and add your own lettering. 3. Place card in a 5 x 7 envelope. Optional: Make an envelope liner using scrapbook paper with footballs, baseballs or another sports motif.

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CRAFT + STYLING Chris Christen PHOTOGRAPHY Chris Christen, Heidi Thorson

Kids need time to play, create and experiment. A nature scavenger hunt is a great way to give kids a little exercise, explore a neighborhood and ignite a sense of wonder and imagination. That’s because after the kids are done with the hunt, they can use their creativity to turn their finds into something else. Here are three easy and frugal craft projects the whole family can enjoy.

NATURALS HUNTING LIST

Most of these items are common to neighborhoods and parks. See how many your child can find. • Pine cones • Acorns • Dandelions • Wildflowers • Garden flowers (with permission to pick!) • Seed pods • Feathers • Leaves with heavy veining • Bark with worm holes • Evergreen sprigs

SUN CATCHERS (Opposite page) 1. Gather feathers, leaves, flowers and other fairly flat naturals and press overnight on weighted flat surface. 2. Mount your naturals on laminating film. Start by noting the diameter of your embroidery hoop (we used

6” and 4” hoops). Trace a circle on the laminating film that is one-fourth-inch greater in diameter than the hoop to allow for “grab” when sun catcher is assembled. 3. Peel protective cover from laminating film and arrange naturals in an interesting pattern atop circle (sticky side up). Position the second circle of laminating film directly on top of base circle to capture the naturals. 4. Remove any air bubbles with a rubber-tipped squeegee, working from the center to the edges. 5. Assemble laminated design in embroidery hoop. Tie on a length of embroidery thread, yarn or ribbon. Display in window.

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CLAY FLOWERS 1. Roll air-dry modeling clay into six balls about the size of nickels. 2. Shape five of the balls into petals. First, press

thumb into each ball at angle and shape flat end to a rounded point. The petal shape will resemble a guitar pick. 3. Arrange petals, points touching, to form a flower. Carefully pinch petals together at edges. Cap with remaining clay ball, placed at center where petal tips meet. 4. Allow to air dry, about 24 hours. 5. Decorate with markers or watercolor paints. 6. Affix magnet to back of flower and display on refrigerator or other metal surface.

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CLAY OWLS 1. Pinch off enough air-dry clay to form a ball about 2 inches in diameter. 2. On hard work surface, flatten ball to thickness of one-

fourth inch. For a perfect circle, use a cookie cutter or rim of a cup. 3. Mark three or four rows of “feathers” using inside of a pen cap at an angle. 4. To make “wings,” fold outer edges of circle toward center. 5. Fold down top section of circle to make the “head.” Mold outer ends of clay to mimic “horns.” 6. Using inside of pen cap, stamp “eyes.” For pupils, stamp each eye with round end of a straight pin. 7. Allow clay to air dry and harden (this may take 24 hours), then spray paint or hand paint owl using watercolors or acrylics, or decorate with colored markers. 8. Affix magnet to back of owl. Optional: For gift-giving, add a pun-inspired note: “Owl we need is love,” “Owl be seeing you,” “Owl for one, one for Owl” or “You’re a hoot!” Source: Paging Fun Mums

CLAY MEDALLION 1. Pinch off enough air-dry

clay to make a ball 3 inches in diameter. 2. Flatten ball to thickness of one-fourth inch. 3. Position leaf or other richly textured natural in clay and press with rolling pin. 4. Gently lift pressed object to reveal impression in clay. For precise circle, use a cookie cutter or rim of a cup. 5. Sign and date back of medallion and allow to air dry (this can take several hours). 6. Leave medallion natural or paint with watercolors to accent indentation. Optional: Glue a magnet to back of medallion for display on any metal surface, or punch a small hole through pliable clay for a hanging medallion.

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Put your family on a path of discovery and good fitness with a nature walk. Here are 10 destinations – one for every week of summer – with kid-friendly things to see and do along the way. COMPILED BY Chris Christen

BOYER CHUTE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

Three miles east of Fort Calhoun Walk from the main parking lot over a concrete bridge spanning Boyer Chute Waterway onto the “island,” where there are more than five miles of walking and hiking trails. Bring a fishing pole!

CHALCO HILLS RECREATION AREA

8901 S. 154th St. Fishing, nature trail, seven-mile paved hiking and biking trail, playground, picnic areas, pet exercise area, visitor center.

FONTENELLE FOREST

the world fabricated in detail from twigs, seeds and other natural materials, with scale-model trains winding throughout. Admission. lauritzengardens.org.

HALLECK PARK

NEALE WOODS NATURE CENTER

816 E. Halleck St., Papillion Four-acre fishing lake, half-mile concrete walking trail that circles the lake and includes an arched bridge and plaza areas. Two shelters, swings and slides. Ball fields, horseshoe pits and basketball, sand volleyball and tennis courts nearby.

HITCHCOCK NATURE CENTER

1111 Bellevue Blvd. North, Bellevue Densely wooded hills, hollows and marshes and 19 miles of trails, including two barrier-free boardwalks with interpretive labels. Raptor Woodland Refuge rescues hurt birds of prey. Admission. fontenelleforest.org

27792 Ski Hill Loop, Honey Creek, Iowa Lookout tower, 10 miles of hiking trails, playground and nature trail accessible to wheelchairs and strollers. Loess Hills Lodge Exhibit Gallery features interactive exhibits, kids’ area. Admission. pottco-conservation.com

HERON HAVEN WETLAND NATURE CENTER

LAURITZEN GARDENS

11809 Old Maple Road This wetland sanctuary within Omaha city limits offers nature

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trails and a boardwalk. Butterfly garden, prairie grass exhibit and photography blind. No pets allowed. Small nature museum within the center.

100 Bancroft St. A highlight includes the outdoor railroad garden with notable structures from Omaha and around

14323 Edith Marie Ave. Native prairie, deep woods and scenic overlooks on a 600-acre preserve 15 minutes north of downtown Omaha. Seven miles of marked trails open year-round. Admission. fontenelleforest.org

OPPD ARBORETUM

108th and Blondo Streets The 27-acre Omaha Public Power District arboretum, which features two miles of trails, is a living classroom. Popular for family photos. A wood-chip path takes visitors under a canopy of trees; the paved trail is easier on strollers.

PRAIRIE QUEEN RECREATION CENTER

132nd Street and Highway 370 This 335-acre park features a 135-acre lake, boat ramp, no-wake boating, picnic shelters, and fourmile paved hiking and biking trail.


CELESTIAL I SPY

Make it a star-gazing summer with these handy printables CRAFT + PHOTOGRAPHY Heidi Thorson

Before you go camping, you’ll want to print these constellation cards. Use them to find summer star patterns. These work for indoor fun, too. Punch a hole in each of the stars and use a flashlight to project the different constellations on the wall or ceiling. Download available on momaha.com

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A kid can work up an appetite playing outdoors. So when little tummies start to growl, be ready with a power snack that packs nutrition and flavor. These combos passed a family taste test – by the handfuls! STYLING + PHOTOGRAPHY Kiley Cruse

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June 7-10th

ONCE-A-WEEK SWIM LESSONS

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Morning, Afternoon Evening & Saturday Morning

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Pop in to REGISTER FOR PRIZES and other Grand Opening Specials

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SWIM INTO SUMMER

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OMAHA QUILTER’S GUILD

39TH ANNUAL QUILT SHOW

TIMELESS TREASURES 2017

June 22 – 24, 2017 LaVista Conference Center 12520 Westport Pkwy, La Vista, NE

IN CONJUNCTION WITH NEBRASKA’S 150TH SESQUICENTENNIAL Quilt Show Hours:

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• Silent Auction • Demonstrations and Presentations • Special Displays • Doll Display • Quilt Appraisals • Make And Take For Kids

Drawing For The 2017 Opportunity Quilt

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PROTEIN TRAIL MIX

½ cup beef jerky, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 cup peanut butter-filled pretzels

1 cup peanut butter bites

2 beef sticks, cut into ½-inch pieces

1 cup roasted, lightly salted almonds

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STORY Kim Carpenter PHOTOGRAPHY Heidi Thorson

C

ellphones and social media aren’t just parts of kids’ social lives; they’ve increasingly become the defining aspect. For them, having a cellphone is more than a luxury – it’s a tool for social inclusion. Not having one can mean being left out, because texting, group chats, video calls and social media are ways to communicate – and belong. Genevieve Maliszewski, staff psychologist in pediatric psychology at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, offers guidelines and insights to help parents handle the constantly evolving challenges that phones and social media present. THE RIGHT AGE Most parents grapple with when to allow their children to have cellphones. Elementary

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school? Grade school? “I wish it were black and white, but it depends on the maturity level of the child and the needs of parents, who often have to be able to reach their children,” says Maliszewski. “Consider the child’s maturity level.” GROUND RULES Set your ground rules before a phone is even turned on. The expert recommends limiting time online and banning all screen time at least 30 minutes before bedtime. “Screens can keep children up, so set a given time for them to put the phone or tablet in your room where it will be charged for the night. And make the dinner table a designated media-free zone. ”If kids follow the rules, they get to keep their phones. It’s about trust. The second they break it, it takes a long time to build it back up.”

REWARDS, NOT RESTRICTIONS With increased time in front of screens, kids aren’t getting the exercise they need. That can lead to health challenges down the road. “The Internet is a strong motivator for kids,” explains Maliszewski. “Remind children it’s a privilege and they’re still living under your roof. This is a great way to promote child-parent communication and to encourage them to limit screen time and be physically active.” SOCIAL PROS AND CONS Parents can’t completely shelter children from experiencing life through social media. “There are social benefits,” emphasizes Maliszewski. “Kids feel included. The key is to monitor use. It’s a new and important aspect of parenting, to teach children how to use social

media appropriately before they reach adulthood.” Start by practicing what you preach and model good behavior. “Kids see you using social media at a young age, so don’t post anything inappropriate.” DISCUSS CONSEQUENCES “Kids – especially teenagers – have this idea that nothing bad can happen to them. There can be a lot of collateral damage from social media,” Maliszewski says. For that reason, constant monitoring is a must. “Kids need to build trust with their parents before they can be granted 100 percent autonomy with social media platforms.” ALL APPS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat. They all carry their own risks – especially the last


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THE PERILS OF ONLINE BULLYING It’s a fact of modern life that kids are experiencing more bullying, due largely to online anonymity. “I’ve seen a lot of

kids who are victims of cyber bullying,” says Maliszewski. “It’s pretty horrible. Especially at risk are kids in the LGBTQ community and those on the autism spectrum.” There are, she says, telltale symptoms your child may be one of those victims. They include: spending too much time checking phone for texts; constantly monitoring how many “likes” posts receive; difficulty sleeping; social difficulties or behavioral problems at school and lack of interest in regularly enjoyed activities. OPEN DIALOGUE Above all, emphasizes the expert, “maintain an open dialogue so as kids grow up, they know both the dangers and the benefits.” To create a Family Media Use Plan, visit healthychildren.org.

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one, in which texts and images disappear within a matter of seconds. “Snapchat can be challenging, but it’s all the rage. If you trust your child, let them try it – but they have to tell an adult if they read or witness something concerning,” cautions Maliszewski. When it comes to social media like Facebook and Twitter, emphasize moderation. “If kids use them too much, they can become depressed, but if they don’t use them, they can feel excluded, which can have other implications for mood and socialization. There are some important benefits of feeling included on social media.”

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Get ORGanized // amy tOkOs Amy Tokos is a Certified Professional Organizer and the owner of Freshly Organized. You can find more organizing tips at freshlyorganized.com.

Let’s hit the road A family road trip is filled with new sights, car games, family time and probably a little too much “mom” and “dad” being called from the back of the van. Organize your car so kids can help themselves. It creates independence and fewer interruptions between stops.

PACK THE BACKPACK Kids are better travelers when they’re entertained. But that doesn’t mean we need to keep them busy the entire time. Each traveler can pack a backpack with entertainment for the trip. Mom and dad are welcome to make suggestions, but let the kids decide what will be the most fun during the ride. There can be limits. For example, it has to fit in the backpack, and it can’t be messy. Kids also love to play on their electronics and watch movies during the drive. This is a great way to pass the time, but set some limits. A good road trip has activity time, movie time and an opportunity to experience our beautiful country while looking out the window.

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SNACKS Car trips are a great time to have special snacks. Homemade trail mix is not only nutritional but also a great memory for kids as they grow up. When children are little, parents are typically the snack dispensers. As kids get a little older, let them have snacks in their own bag. You can do this by giving them a morning round of snacks, which they can eat any time. Distribute the afternoon round later. This helps them manage their snacks and keeps you free from being the dispenser.

STOPS We can shoot for the “iron butt” award, or we can take a little time to enjoy the drive. You can decide what kind of experience you want and when you do, communicate it to the whole family. If this is going to be a “Let’s get to grandma’s as fast as we can” kind of trip, then everyone in the car needs to know that in advance. If you have a little time, make the stops and enjoy the journey. A welcome center will have brochures for all sorts of things to do while visiting. You might not be able to fit it all in, but you will learn a lot about what the state you’re traveling through has to offer.

MESS MANAGEMENT Cars and kids can get quite messy during road trips. Keep hand wipes and paper towels or napkins in the car to help with cleanup. Keep a trash bag near the kids. Before each stop, have the kids collect all the trash in the vehicle and empty it at each stop. SAFETY An emergency car kit is a must. Include a first aid kit, road flares, rain ponchos, jumper cables, flashlight and high-protein snacks. Always have a few extra bandages for scraped knees and elbows that kids typically get when they run around in unfamiliar places. In winter, blankets and fire starters are musts.


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Profile for Omaha World-Herald

Momaha Magazine - June 2017  

Monthly magazine for parents published by the Omaha World-Herald in conjunction with its blog Momaha.com

Momaha Magazine - June 2017  

Monthly magazine for parents published by the Omaha World-Herald in conjunction with its blog Momaha.com