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QUICK MEALS Rotisserie chicken to the rescue!

DADS ON FATHERHOOD Poignant letters of love, pride and being present for their kids.



THE SPICE IS RIGHT Make it a winning grill season

Boys Town National Research Hospital

We’re growing! Shahab F. Abdessalam, M.D.

Robert A. Cusick, M.D.

Megan K. Fuller, M.D.

Stephen C. Raynor, M.D.

You know us for helping keep kids healthy and for specialized medical care when they need it. Now, we are pleased to announce we are expanding the care you have come to know and trust to include higher levels of hospital and surgical care for kids.

Introducing Pediatric General and Thoracic Surgery • General • Cancer

• Colorectal • Groin

• Hernia • Pectus

• Thoracic • Thyroid

Learn more about our clinical and surgical services at

Summer Reading Program June 1-July 31, 2019

Presented by the

Richard brooke Foundation Kids' & Teens' program

Get a prize pack by reading or listening for 10 hours. Log time each week for additional chances to win drawing prizes, including gift cards.

Adults' Program

Read or listen for 10 hours to receive your choice of a book bag or earbud splitter/stand, voucher for a book, and entry into a drawing for gift cards.

Kids' & Teens' Prize Pack

 Coupon sheet  Book  Choice of book bag or earbud splitter/stand  Storm Chasers vouchers (for an 8/7 or 8/11 game)

 Entry into a drawing for gift cards

Prizes available beginning June 1, while supplies last.

Visit to learn more & register.

Kickoff Parties

Fri | May 31 | 10:30 AM–12:30 PM Bess Johnson Elkhorn Branch W. Dale Clark Main Library

Sat | June 1 | 1–3 PM

All other OPL locations 2157641-01



Age 10, Crohn’s Disease Call her Gracie the Graceful, a budding ballet, jazz and tap dancer. When serious digestive issues rattled her rhythm, Gracie’s pediatrician referred her to the GI specialists at Children’s, a team that lifts young lives with our own powerful “duet” – pediatric training and extensive experience.

Experienced, unparalleled care for a full spectrum of pediatric gastroenterology conditions brings families from across the Midwest and the United States to Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha. Our expert team specializes in treating patients with feeding and growth disorders, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, liver disease, pancreatic disease and other GI conditions. For a pediatric gastroenterology specialist, call 1.800.833.3100 or visit 2135798-01


June 2019






5 Editor’s Column 7 On Our Radar 8 Momaha Bookshelf 19 Be Well 32 Get Organized

9 Cookbooks for Dad 12 Easy Summer Meals 16 Spice Rubs 22 Two Dads’ Story 24 Dad’s Letter to Sons 26 Sharing a Hobby with Kids 28 Gross Lockers

10 The Rose Theater 14 YMCA of Greater Omaha 20 Learning Community of Douglas and Sarpy Counties 27 Huntington Learning Center 30 TreeRush Adventures




momaha where moms connect

VOLUME 10 . ISSUE 6 . JUNE 2019 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


cover photo KILEY CRUSE

account manager L AURE N KRUGE R 402-444-1261

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

402-932-2030 4

June 2019

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 2019 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.

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

Time to celebrate all the father figures in your life


henever June rolls around, I can’t help but think of it as the month of dads. My husband and I were recently talking about how it could be possible that our older son, Sam, is 5. We have a hard time coping with the fact that he’ll be starting kindergarten in the fall. Neither of us can believe we’ve been a parent for more than five years. Some days it feels like an eternity, but other days it honestly feels like yesterday. I suppose that’s parenting in a nutshell. We’ll celebrate my husband’s sixth Father’s Day on June 16. The other day we thought back to his very first one and how it’s not really unlike how we’ll spend this one. We’ll make daddy a special breakfast and give him some presents, and then we’ll go see

all of the other important father figures in our lives, including our fathers and grandparents. We’ll take lots of pictures and make lots of new memories we can cherish for years to come. It’ll continue to be important to us that we celebrate all the fathers in our lives, whether they’re here with us, celebrating from far away or are no longer with us on this earth. If you’re looking for a special way to celebrate the dads in your life, we’ve got some great ideas inside this issue. Check out our dad-themed products on page 7, as well as a list of great dads in literature on page 8. I hope all you dads out there have a great time celebrating. Happy summer!


TWITTER @momaha_owh PINTEREST /momahaowh INSTAGRAM /momaha_owh




June 2019



COLORFUL THREADS If it’s time to de-borify Dad’s style, there’s lots to love in “lifestyle apparel” designed for looks and comfort. Color and pattern are exploding in sport coats and dress shirts that can be customized with linings and stitching. We love the value and quality of the featured sport coat, which makes Dad look and feel like a million bucks. As shown: $395. Bel Air Fashions, Miracle Hills Square

A MULTITASKER FLPSDE’s patent-pending dual chamber water bottles are so much more than just a water bottle. “Made for adventure,” these vacuum-insulated stainless steel bottles keep up to 20 ounces hot or cold for hours, while its removable inner chamber stores up to 7 ounces of snacks or personal items like keys or cash. Durable silicone grip band. Go-everywhere convenience and style with a local tie: Its inventors live in Elkhorn. $34.99.

HEAVY LIFTER Our dad tester was impressed with this Packable Stealth Shovel from DMOS. The telescoping handle stores tidily in the belly of the scoop, making it ideal for keeping in the back of a vehicle. The company claims that the shovel is “indestructible.” We didn’t test that, but it’s made from aircraft-grade aluminum and has a rustresistant powder-coat finish for two thumbs up from us. $89

Pit masters will tell you: Wood fire pellet grills are awesome if you love food with subtle smoky flavor. Hardwood pellets come in a wide variety of flavors, such as pecan, hickory, mesquite, cherry, apple, maple and more. We like Traeger’s sawhorse-style grill/smoker. It’s on the brawny side, with all-terrain wheels that easily roll over pavers, rocks and dirt. Snag a new cookbook (see page 9 for our recommendations) and get the summer started! Model shown, about $600.

THE GREAT PROTECTOR We’ve been obsessed with the handmade waxed canvas bags from ARTIFACT since the Omaha company’s founding in 2010. Workmanship, durability and function are top-notch. For the dad who makes things: a rugged apron to protect his clothes and pockets to hold whatever he needs close at hand. Lifetime guarantee. $58 to $168.



Memorable essays, poems, mysteries and more For Father’s Day, we asked the staff of the Omaha Public Library to share their favorite books with dads as central characters. They loved the assignment, and we highlight some here. Find the complete list of recommended reading at Charles B. Washington Library

W. Dale Clark Library

Omaha Public Library






by Marilynne Robinson The reflections of John Ames in letters to his young son make you reexamine the beauty that can be found in everyday life and relationships. Allison Buser, clerk compiled and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe This short collection of poetry celebrates African American fathers and grandfathers and contains beautiful illustrations using a range of materials. Sydney Groh, practicum student


by Maggie Shen King Fatherhood, among other themes, is explored through four character perspectives in a hypothetical near-future China in which 40 million men can’t find wives. Colby Jenkins, senior clerk


by Kenzaburo Oë This is a raw, semi-autobiographical account of a new father’s internal conflict as he discovers that his wife is pregnant with a child with disabilities. Although a relatively short book, the entire novel compresses intense emotional weight into every new development. Ameen Wahba, clerk


June 2019

by Greg Hrbek After a terrorist attack polarizes the country, a man adopts a Muslim child while a young neighbor stews in his own radicalization and xenophobia. Laura Evans, collections processing clerk by Trent Reedy For a responsible 16-year-old, Michael Wilson has a lot of problems. His father was killed in Afghanistan in 2005, his overworked and overprotective mother will not talk about their situation and does not want him playing football, and he has suddenly started to receive letters that his father wrote before his death. Sharon Pflanz, senior clerk


by Joan Patterson Kerr Teddy Roosevelt wore a lot of hats, but he was particularly proud and passionate about his role as father. His extensive correspondence with his children was first published in 1919 and can be found online, but this edition from the mid-1990s has a particularly good introduction and historical supplements. Mark Sorensen, arts & culture librarian

series by William R. Forstchen This is a well-written series about the trials and tribulations of a father of two daughters after a massive Electro Magnetic Pulse attack. It is a modern-day “Alas, Babylon.” Rodney Moorhead, technology specialist


by Alice Sebold After the disappearance of his daughter Susie, a father obsessively searches for answers as to her whereabouts. As years go by, the vacancy left by Susie’s death causes the family to become untethered. Jack’s search for his daughter becomes as much about his need to understand a world that has left him disoriented as it is about the loss of Susie. Miranda Morales, library specialist


by Mike Chen Kin Stewart is a time-traveling secret agent from the future who gets stuck in the early 1990s. Almost 18 years later, he’s rescued and brought back to his time where he’s been gone a matter of weeks, not years. The desire to know and even change his daughter’s future drives him to corrupt time itself and sets into motion a government machine focused on eliminating her. Margaret Petersen, outreach specialist

BEYOND BBQ Teach Dad some new tricks with these beer and meat books COMPILED BY Marjie Ducey PHOTOGRAPHY Chris Christen


ads traditionally know their way around the grill. But this Father’s Day, why not expand that knowledge? Andrea Gunther of The Bookworm shares five books covering everything from picking the right cut of meat to preparing it and even pairing it — with the perfect side and beer. Visit for sample recipes from the cookbooks.


By Aaron Franklin and Jordan Mackay This isn’t a cookbook, but the authors tell you everything you’d ever want to know about cooking an amazing steak. Find information about buying the best piece of beef and then seasoning it to perfection. “Franklin is very well known in BBQ circles. He knows what he’s doing,’’ Gunther says.


With pit master Christopher Prieto A great barbecue book because it breaks down the pieces of meat and the best ways to cook them. It helps you identify what to look for in the store and also includes pictures of how to prepare each cut.


By Julia Herz and Gwen Conley Beer has been a source of comfort and amusement through the ages. Craft beers took it to another level in the U.S. Now, this book challenges home chefs to try something new with that bottle of beer. Who knew that mint chocolate chip ice cream goes great with an American Imperial Stout?


The editors at America’s Test Kitchen Cooking the best meat begins at the grocery store. So that’s where this starts with a 27-page master class in meat cookery, from reading the label at the store to seasoning. Then the authors break down how to sauté, pan sear, pan roast, roast, grill, barbecue and more.


By Stephen Beaumont Read about the history of beer and its pairing with food. Delicious recipes allow you to cook, pair and appreciate ale at a whole new level. This book also includes profiles of key chefs, restaurateurs and beer experts.



It’s just the ticket for fun Rose Theater offers memberships, packages for families at every stage


s The Rose celebrates 70 years of children’s theater in Omaha, it offers even more options for theaterloving families, including a ticket package specifically for those with very young children. New in the 2019-20 season, the First Stage+ Package includes four tickets to the two First Stage shows; four tickets to the main stage show, “Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Experience”; and two sample dance and drama classes. This package is designed to give families a jump-start into everything The Rose has to offer, from productions to classes. “This is a great way for families with young children to see shows and experience classes,” Rose artistic director Matthew Gutschick says. “They can learn what interests their child and get them started on a wonderful experience in the arts.” For just $75, families can see “A Bucket of Blessings” and “The Little Engine That Could,” the two shows included in the First Stage Series. These shows are intended for very young audiences, children attending the theater for the first time, preschoolers and children with special needs. The shows are performed on the Hitchcock Stage, a smaller space on the fourth floor of the theater. In early fall, families also will be invited to participate in two sample classes showcasing The Rose’s educational offerings for preschoolers. In spring 2020, First Stage+ families graduate to the main stage to see “Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Experience.” The Rose’s traditional membership program builds on the theater’s legacy of high-quality family entertainment at a price everyone can afford. Rose members enjoy everything the theater has to offer. A membership costs less than the price of four single tickets to two shows, allowing a family of four to see six shows throughout the year. “With a Rose membership, families can share the magic of the theater with their children for less than $5 a ticket,” Gutschick says. “Not only do these families get to


June 2019

make lasting memories together, but they also give their children all the benefits that research shows the theater experience imparts to young people – stretching their imagination, increasing their empathy, better understanding others, and developing an appreciation of arts and culture.” Plus, several member-only opportunities and benefits are available for the 2019-20 season. For only $105, family members receive the following membership perks: • Four free tickets to each of The Rose’s six member event shows, which equals 24 tickets, and savings on additional ticket purchases. • A savings of $7 per ticket on the premium event shows, “Elf the Musical” and “The Sound of Music,” and a savings of $2 per ticket on the First Stage Pre-K Series. They also receive a deep discount of $13 on The Rose’s special event production, “Howie D: Back in the Day.” • An invitation to a free Member Day Birthday Bash, complete with workshops, hands-on activities, building tours and more. • Waiver of the $15 class registration fee for members who are BROADWAY and DRAMA at The Rose students. • A 10% discount on Rose costume

rentals. For larger families, additional membership options are available, offering from five to eight tickets per show. A Patron Membership is available for $400 per family. Patron members receive additional benefits in appreciation for their help underwriting programming for children with financial barriers. Patron benefits include: • All benefits associated with family membership. • Four free tickets to a performance of “Howie D: Back in the Day,” including a private patron event. • Eight free “gift” passes for friends and family. • Recognition in each main stage show program. Through patron contributions, The Rose is able to provide high-quality theater productions, including innovative and experimental pieces making their world debut on the The Rose stage. These shows give children exposure to a wide range of theater styles and enhance their appreciation of the art. Memberships for the 2019-20 season are on sale now. For more information, call The Rose Box Office at 402-345-4849 or go to

Join us for a summer of




Summer Adventure Camps at Lauritzen Gardens provide exciting opportunities for children ages 5-12 to foster an appreciation for the environment through direct experiences with the natural world.




for children to explore science, nature and art!

• FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING The garden offers morning and afternoon camps, supervised lunch, and extended drop-off/pick-up packages to give parents flexibility.

Try a Cosmic Bounce, Bubbles or any of our other add-ons! ons!

• OPPORTUNITIES FOR DISCOVERY Camps include nature hikes, plant and wildlife encounters, crafts and other hands-on activities to keep kids active. • CAMPS DEVELOP LIFE SKILLS like problem solving, decision making, collaboration, communication, creativity, leadership, and socialization.


• SESSIONS range from $55-$235.

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! 100 Bancroft Street, Omaha (402) 346-4002, ext. 253

11144 Q St, Omaha, NE 68137 402-884-9093 •



Discover the best entertainment value in Omaha! Family members receive four FREE tickets to each of these shows! (Additional packages available for larger families.)

2019-20 Member Shows

Go, Dog.G o!




Rose Members Receive... Four FREE tickets to each regular season show listed above that’s 24 free tickets! Great discounts on classes, camps and costume rentals.

oin oday

Discounts on tickets to The Rose’s FIRST STAGE shows, A Bucket of Blessings and The Little Engine That Could, as well as the premium and special event shows: Elf the Musical and The Sound of Music.





Sheet pan tilapia

WHAT’S FOR SUPPER? Quick and easy recipes for families on the go STORY Marjie Ducey


Carrie Nielsen

Kayla Ellis


his time of year can be crazy for parents. There are baseball, softball and soccer games not to mention all the practices. End-of-theschool-year activities can keep families on the run, too. A steady diet of fast food isn’t the answer when your family needs to be fed in short order! Rotisserie chicken from the supermarket deli is an easy starter for salads, sandwiches and wraps, soups, pizza topping and quesadillas. “This can be a big time-saver,’’ Hy-Vee dietitian Kayla Ellis says, not to mention more nutritious and much easier on the budget than fast food. Already cut-up vegetables and fruits are another quick option. “Steamer bag vegetables in the frozen section are great to get those veggies in,’’ Ellis says. “Pop them in the microwave and they are done in less than 10 minutes.’’ Using a slow cooker overnight can reduce meal prep to 30 minutes or less, says Hy-Vee dietitian Carrie Nielsen. “That’s a win to me,’’ she says. Here are some of their favorite recipes in the “quickand-easy” category.

June 2019

Sheet Pan Tilapia

Serves 3, ready in 30 minutes or less • 3 tilapia fillets, thawed if frozen • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice • 1 teaspoon cilantro lime seasoning • 2 cups fresh green beans, trimmed • 1 cup yellow and red cherry tomatoes • 1 lemon, sliced • 1 tablespoon olive oil • Salt • Ground black pepper

1. Heat oven to 400 F. Spray a foil-lined baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. 2. Pat tilapia dry with paper towels. In a small bowl, mix together butter, lemon juice and cilantro lime seasoning; brush onto fish. 3. In a medium bowl, combine green beans, tomatoes, lemon slices, olive oil, salt and pepper; toss to coat. Place coated vegetables around fish on baking sheet. 4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until fish easily flakes with a fork (cook to a temperature of 145 F) and vegetables are crisptender. Serve immediately.

One Pot Lemon Pepper Shrimp Pasta

Pulled Pork Tacos

• 2 tablespoons olive oil

• 2-pound boneless pork

Serves 6, ready in 30 minutes • 3 cloves garlic, minced

• 1 yellow onion, finely chopped

Serves 8

shoulder roast • 1 package reduced-sodium

One pot spaghetti and meatballs

Serves 6, ready in 30 minutes • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning • 1 teaspoon onion powder

• 2 large lemons, zested and juiced

taco seasoning mix

• Two 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes

• 1½ teaspoon ground black pepper

• 1 can reduced-sodium

• 24-ounce can traditional pasta sauce

• 32 ounces vegetable stock

chicken broth

• 14.5-ounce can chicken broth

• 2 cups water

• ½ cup chopped onion

• 1½ cup water

• 16 ounces pot-sized linguine noodles, dry

• 8 fajita-size tortilla shells

• 14-ounce package Italian-style

• 1 pound fresh shrimp (16 to 21 pieces), peeled,

• Shredded cheddar cheese,

deveined and thawed • 10.5-ounce container red cherry tomatoes • 6-ounce package finely shredded Parmesan cheese • 8 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes • Fresh parsley, for garnish

1. Add olive oil to a large stockpot over medium heat. Add garlic and onions. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in lemon zest and juice, black pepper, vegetable broth and water. Cover, increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. 2. Add pasta to boiling broth mixture. Cover and cook for 12 minutes. Add thawed shrimp to pasta and cook an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until pasta is cooked through and shrimp is opaque. Remove pasta from heat and stir in cherry tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and cream cheese until melted. Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired.


sour cream, shredded

• 16-ounce package spaghetti, dry

lettuce, optional

• Shredded Parmesan cheese, for garnish

1. Rub roast with taco seasoning mix. 2. Place roast in a 3½- or 4-quart slow cooker; add broth and onion. Cover and cook on low for 10 to 11 hours or on high for 5 to 6 hours. 3. Remove roast from slow cooker and, using two forks, pull meat into coarse strands. 4. Serve shredded pork on tortilla shells topped with cheddar cheese, sour cream and lettuce, if desired.

• Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

1. Add Italian seasoning, onion powder, diced tomatoes, pasta sauce, chicken broth and water to a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Stir in frozen meatballs, cover and bring to a simmer. 2. Once sauce begins to simmer, stir in dry spaghetti. Cover and simmer for 15 to 18 minutes, stirring occasionally until pasta reaches al dente and meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165 F. 3. Remove lid from stockpot and garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley, if desired

Chicken Pasta

Serves 6, ready in 20 minutes • 8 ounces fettuccine noodles, dry • 2 cups chopped butternut squash • 1 jar Alfredo sauce • 4 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded • 8-ounce bag fresh baby spinach • Cracked pepper

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and butternut squash. Cook according to pasta package directions until al dente. Drain, reserving ½ cup pasta water; set pasta and squash aside. 2. Heat Alfredo sauce in same pan over medium heat. Stir in chicken, spinach and pasta mixture. Add reserved pasta water to thin sauce as desired. Heat mixture through. Season to taste with cracked black pepper. Other dishes with rotisserie chicken Pasta dish: 2 cups chicken chunks, 1 jar Ragu Cheesy Light Parmesan and mozzarella sauce, 16-ounce bag cooked California mix veggies and ½ pound cooked rotini. Mix together and add about ¼ cup grated/ shredded Parmesan cheese. Chicken-in-a-Bowl: Put mashed potatoes in the bottom of a bowl. Add a handful of chicken chunks, top with juices from the chicken container or warmed purchased gravy, and garnish with shredded cheddar cheese. Quesadilla: Spoon rotisserie chicken chunks onto one half of a wholewheat tortilla. Sprinkle with shredded Monterey Jack or other cheese. Fold in half and microwave for a few seconds. Serve with salsa on the side.




A friendly welcome Mom of three says Sarpy YMCA helped her to build relationships STORY + PHOTOGRAPHY Mike Watkins


hen Lauren Wright and her family moved to the Papillion area two years ago, their only local connection was her husband’s cousin. As a stay-at-home mother of two, she wanted to meet people and make friends, but wasn’t sure where to begin. She met many people through her church, but it wasn’t until she joined the Sarpy Community YMCA in Papillion that she truly began to feel the giving, friendly pulse of her new home. “I always say it’s the Sarpy YMCA community that really welcomed us to town on a large scale.” Wright and her family relocated from Utah in May 2017 for husband Matt’s joint medical residency between Offutt Air Force Base and the University of Nebraska Medical Center. “We’ve felt very welcome at our church, and then we started seeing people from church at the YMCA and that created even stronger relationships.” Wright, who welcomed third-child Lily into the family that includes Landon, 5,


June 2019

and Mia, 3, in January 2018, began taking a body pump class a few times a week but quickly became more engaged. It wasn’t long after joining that Wright learned of opportunities to teach classes herself. Now, she teaches body pump classes two times a week as well as one aqua interval and one ultimate strength cardio (USC) class – and more when she’s needed and available. “Teaching the classes proved to be another great way to meet people, getting to know their names and build some relationships,” she says. While she’s working out and teaching classes, her kids attend the Y Childwatch, and Landon is a student in the Sarpy Community YMCA’s preschool. “I love the Y’s Childwatch ... They (the kids) love it, too, because there are so many activities for them.” The kids also enjoy swimming in the pool and running around the gym with their mom. Landon played organized soccer last fall and intends to get more involved this summer and fall now that

he’s older. Mia was too young last year, but Wright says she thinks she might sign her up for soccer this year. They participated in the Easter egg design contest this year (and won) and last fall they helped with the YMCA’s Trunk or Treat event. And the whole family enjoys Parents’ Night Out. The kids get free rein of the YMCA, watching movies, playing games and enjoying snacks while mom and dad get time to themselves. While her family’s stay in the Omaha area is temporary – Matt’s residency is complete in a year and then, as a military doctor, he will be transferred – Wright says she will always have the YMCA community to call home no matter where they land. “I know we’ll stay active within the Y because our experience at the Sarpy Community YMCA has been so positive. As soon as we move to our new town and get settled in our new house, we’ll start searching for our next YMCA home.”




t. Crescent Ski Area 2152454-01

WHERE KIDS GO TO GROW Register NOW for YMCA Summer Camp!

Summer Day Camp • Specialty Camps • YMCA Camp Platte


Visit to view our full 2019 Summer Camp Guide! YMCA OF GREATER OMAHA • 2157621-01


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FLAVOR KICK 5 spice rubs for grilled steaks, chicken and more STORY + PHOTOGRAPHY Kiley Cruse


June 2019

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ix up a few batches of spice rubs for Father’s Day and watch Dad kick up the flavor of steaks, chicken and chops on the grill. The quantities of each recipe can be easily adapted for large-batch giving in coordinating jars available at hobby supply stores. Bonus: Homemade seasoning blends have no additives and cost a fraction of their store-bought versions.

Copycat Montreal Grill Seasoning

Spicy Chicken Rub

Makes about ½ cup

Makes ½ cup

• 4 tablespoons salt

• 4 tablespoons paprika

• 1 tablespoon black pepper

• 2 teaspoons ground ginger

• 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes

• 2 teaspoons dried dill

• ½ tablespoon dried garlic

• 2 teaspoons fine sea salt

• ½ tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

• 2 teaspoons garlic powder

• ½ tablespoon dried thyme

• 2 teaspoons onion powder

• ½ tablespoon dried rosemary

• 1 teaspoon black pepper

• ½ tablespoon crushed fennel seed

• 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. Place all ingredients in a spice grinder and grind fine. 2. Rub on steaks or pork before grilling. 3. It also works well as a marinade. Mix 2 tablespoons seasoning with ¼ cup olive oil, ¼ cup water and 2 tablespoons red wine or red wine vinegar. Place 1½ pounds meat in a glass dish or resealable plastic bag. Add marinade and refrigerate for 15 minutes, or up to 2 hours for extra flavor.

1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. 2. Brush chicken pieces with olive oil. Season liberally with chicken rub. Rub in gently. 3. Cook over a hot grill until done. 4. Make extra batches and store in airtight container in the freezer until ready to use.


Tuscan Herb Spice Mix Makes 1½ cups

American Pride Pork Chop Seasoning Makes ½ cup • 4 tablespoons brown sugar

• 4 tablespoons dried basil

• 2 tablespoons coarse salt

• 4 tablespoons dried marjoram

• 2 teaspoons black pepper (coarse ground)

• 2 tablespoons garlic powder

• 2 teaspoons allspice

• 2 tablespoons oregano

• 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves

• 2 tablespoons thyme • 2 tablespoons rosemary • 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes

1. Mix all ingredients until well-blended. 2. Store in a tightly capped jar. Use to bring robust flavor to pasta sauce, gravy, homemade bread, rice, roasted vegetables, beef, chicken — even pizza.

1. Combine ingredients in small bowl. 2. Rub both sides of pork chops with herb mixture. 3. Let stand 15 to 30 minutes before grilling. Adapted from The Pork Checkoff


Best Ever Blackened Seasoning Makes about 1/3 cup • 3 tablespoons smoked paprika • 2 teaspoons onion powder • 1½ teaspoons sea salt • 1 teaspoon garlic powder • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper • 1 teaspoon dried thyme • 1 teaspoon dried oregano • ½ to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. Combine all ingredients into jar and stir until well-mixed. 2. Use immediately, or cover and store in a dark dry place. Source: Sommer Collier,




June 2019



Family matters most


here are now so many variations and so much diversity when it comes to families that a Father’s Day without Dad no longer carries the stigma it once did. “Often there are expectations these role-specific holidays are going to be really hard for kids and families, but experiences vary,’’ says Dr. Ashley Harlow, a psychologist with Children’s Hospital & Medical Center. Harlow isn’t discounting the importance of having a dad around. He is Dr. Ashley one and knows how Harlow hard parenting can be. “It’s easier when you have two,’’ he says. “When one parent is doing it alone, the workload is significantly greater.’’ But if there isn’t a father figure in your family, don’t fret that your child’s day is going to be ruined. Although it seems that everyone

on social media has the perfect nuclear family and is celebrating a traditional holiday, it’s not the case. Some children don’t have a dad around because they are deployed or working. If you are concerned, follow your child’s lead and recognize and respond to their perceptions of the situation. “If a child asks lots of questions about Dad or makes statements about being sad or jealous of families that have a dad, Mom will want to address that,’’ Harlow said. “Listen closely to their questions or statements, and validate those concerns and emotions.’’ Make what you say age appropriate and try hard not to make the day even tougher by bashing their absent father. Also don’t feel that you have to overcompensate. Don’t worry about scheduling special trips or eating out to make up for a missing dad. “That can create a different kind of distress,’’ Harlow says.

If a child is feeling sad, worried or upset about Dad not being around and Mom’s response is that he or she should get over it or feel happy, this may further upset the child, who might not feel listened to or validated, Harlow says. Instead you could treat the day as a broader family celebration, he says. Or gather with other single parents and their kids. If you are seeing signs that not having a father figure around is hurting your child, consider national organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters or go local and reach out to TeamMates. “Positive role models in a child’s life are important,’’ Harlow says. “And the need for a positive role model is not going to be solved by one day in June.’’ So enjoy Father’s Day with your child, follow their lead and celebrate that you are a family. Dad or not. “This is a time to appreciate the best parts of being a family,’’ Harlow says.



Learning, growing GEDs, workforce skills, English classes are helping to build solid futures for families STORY Maggie O’Brien


aria Rosalba Salazar has always wanted her daughters to succeed. Now she hopes to inspire them. “I would like to be an example, to encourage them to achieve their hopes and dreams,” the 29-year-old Omahan says. Salazar, whose children are ages 7 and 1, is taking adult education and workforce development classes offered by the Learning Community. GED and Workforce classes are a new choice for parents like Maria. She has completed three years of classes to become fluent in English as well as more confident in her parenting skills and in her ability to help her children in school. The classes are offered only at the Learning Community’s centers in North and South Omaha. In South Omaha, classes are already full. Many families struggle as economic realities interfere. The program is an answer for parents who realize they need something more to build a solid future for their family. If parents are struggling as providers, the stress at home can negatively affect kids’ academic performance. “One of the largest predictors for how students perform on a standardized test is poverty,” says Learning Community CEO David Patton. “Just think of the huge impact that educational opportunities can create for the family.” Parents across the Learning Community’s 11 school districts had


June 2019


Maria Rosalba Salazar with her youngest child, Alice.

asked for help in building workforce skills, earning their GEDs and learning English. “We listen to parents and they’ve told us what they need,” Patton says. “We’re sharing this opportunity, and their input will help guide how these classes grow.” Suk Tamang is an Omaha dad of three, ages 3, 6 and 12. The carpenter from Bhutan came to the United States after living in a refugee camp for 21 years. Tamang is taking Parent University classes in the Learning Community’s North Omaha center to learn English and improve his job skills so he can enter the workforce in the hopes of providing a better future for his family. His wife works at a local plant, and Tamang cares for the children. He is in class about four hours a day. “The classes here have everything I need,” he says. “I like this place.” The parent program is connected to six Omaha Public Schools elementary schools, including Conestoga Magnet, where two of Tamang’s children attend. When his youngest is not in preschool, she is close by with caregivers in a child learning room. Tamang is making friends and building business skills. Making sure his children have a strong education is very important to him. “Learning English makes it easier to help my children,” Tamang says. “Helping with homework is not so difficult now. And I have homework too, so we (do it) together.”

In South Omaha, the Learning Community expanded a workforce skills pilot program in partnership with Metropolitan Community College. Parents say they are excited to earn valuable workforce certifications and quickly gain confidence in their own resourcefulness and career strengths. Salazar is participating in the pilot program with Metro. “All of my classmates are so nice and we support each other,” she says. “We work together to make our families’ lives’ better. I would like to work so I can help my husband, buy a house and help my parents.” By earning a GED or workplace certifications, Salazar and her classmates will be prepared for better jobs and continuing education. Education — and resilience — among parents and children lead to stronger families and thriving communities, Patton says. “I think about the opportunities this is going to invite for our families, whether they need to get their GED, build a resume or learn interview skills,” he says. “All of those things improve the lives of a large part of our population that hasn’t been exposed to the opportunities in our community. We hope to change that.” Find out more about Learning Community programs for families, parents, teachers and students at


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Michael Cich-Jones, left, and Scott Jones with son Sebastian Cich at Easter services this year.

THE JOY OF TWO DADS Our days are filled with playdates, swim lessons, respect and love STORY Scott Jones and Michael Cich-Jones


n March 2015 we posted a video to Facebook announcing to our friends that we were expecting a son at the end of April. We were amazed what followed. We suddenly found ourselves in the middle of a circle of encouragement and support. People gave us precious hand-me-downs: toys, clothes and books — some with their child’s scrawlings on the pages. They passed along their advice — so much advice. One person even shared her breast milk, and then someone else gave us a freezer to store it in.


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We joked that we joined a club we never knew existed. In truth, we had always been part of a loving community. Yes, we still had all the anxiety of any new parents, but we weren’t doing this alone. The support that started four years ago continues to this day. We are sometimes asked whether it is a challenge to be same-sex parents in Omaha. We recently talked about this while fixing supper one evening. Could either of us remember an outright moment of unkindness or negative treatment of our son or family? We could not. Long before we had a child, we chose to surround ourselves with people who embraced us. We belong to an open and affirming Christian church and work for organizations that have protections for their LGBTQ employees. We also did the difficult work of excluding people who could not love us completely, including some family members. Our son is growing up in an environment where everyone around him treats his family as just one of the many kinds of families that now exist in America. He attends a day care and preschool with diverse families, where images of same-sex couples decorate the walls, and where kids are free to explore their gender expression. Our days are filled with playdates, swim lessons and birthday parties. Even outside of our carefully curated circle, our family is being treated with the respect any family is entitled to. We recognize we are living a radically new experience. The acceptance we enjoy today was not realized until recently. At our son’s baby shower, we received a special note from a gay couple who had been together for more than 50 years. They mentioned how glad they were for us but also how much they had wanted children of their own — something that just was not possible for them when they were younger. Today, our son excitedly announces to people he meets, “I have two daddies!” We hear more than a proclamation of love. For him, his family is something special to be celebrated. It is our prayer that the world he grows up in will increasingly be one of kindness, generosity and respect.

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Dr. Eric Ernest with his wife, Nicole, and sons (from left) Connor, 7; Luke, 5; Ryan, 9; Simon, 1; and Peter, 3. Ernest is an assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at UNMC.

A father’s letter to his sons A message of strength, humility and devotion STORY Eric Ernest, M.D.

My dear boys, As Father’s Day approaches, I can’t help but reflect on the men that you will become and the challenges you will face in adulthood. If you are fortunate enough to become fathers, might I pass along a few words of wisdom to try to help you along your way. The first and most important point is your relationship with the creator. To understand that you were uniquely made and to find awe and inspiration in your own creation is truly important. It will help you understand your place in this world and will provide both a sense of strength as well as humility as you move through life. From there, your next true love should be your wife. One of the best ways to teach your own children how to treat others is to model those qualities with your wife, including love, honesty, respect and devotion. Never stop developing the love you have with your wife, and may it never stagnate or fizzle out, especially with the burdens of parenthood. I would also encourage you to understand your true vocation. In this ever-busy world built on materialism and personal success, realize that as a father, your true vocation is just that, fatherhood. Ask yourself: Is my work serving my family? Or is my family serving my work? Take it from me that it is all too easy to get caught up in the demands of work, for it can truly be a


June 2019

difficult balance to strike between work and family life. But, realize that as you look at where you invest your time and energy, your greatest return will be that which you invest in your family. Be present. Make the effort to put down the phone, turn off the TV and truly focus on fostering a relationship with your children. Try to understand who they are, their hopes, their fears, what they are excited about and interested in, and what they are scared of. In turn, don’t be afraid to be vulnerable to your children, sharing of yourself what you are asking of them, for in this you show both your strength and your humility as a father. Be protective of the time with your family. It is all too easy to get wrapped up in the demands and activities of this world. Be mindful of the simple things – family dinners, holidays, volunteering and family traditions. It is in these times that you are able to share and model the morals and values you desire for your children; for as a father, you should be ready to stand up to a culture that may not desire the same. Lastly, understand that you will be one of your children’s greatest role models. You may not do fatherhood perfectly, but know that your children will value the effort you made long after they have gone on and become adults themselves. With love, Dad

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BUILDING BONDS How to let your kid share in your hobbies STORY Kevin Coffey


love games. I have a video game console hooked into every one of our televisions. My basement has shelves and shelves full of tabletop games. I have a 20-sided die tattooed on my body. Games (video games, board games, role-playing games) are something I think about a lot. They’re something I do a lot. But when my kids ask to play, it can be hard to accommodate them. Look, the games I play are geared toward someone my age, not a 5-year-old and certainly not a 2-year-old. They can’t play “Call of Duty.” Heck, they can’t even watch me play “Call of Duty.” But my sons, Sammy and Elliott, definitely want to join in on the fun of gaming. Sharing my hobbies — games, of course, as well as baseball, drawing, movies and various other things — can be hard to do with kids so young. But they’re into whatever their dad is into — they still think I’m cool! — so I want to engage them as much as possible. I’ve done my best to let them into my worlds a little bit, and I’ve discovered a few


June 2019

things you may also find effective. • Let them join you. Little ones just want to hang out with Mom and Dad sometimes. Let them. That may mean downshifting from “Mass Effect” to a session of “Angry Birds,” but they’ll be so grateful they could have fun with you. • Don’t force it. The worst thing you can do is try to force your hobbies on your kids. How many times have we seen a miserable kid being dragged to baseball practice while Dad thinks it’s the greatest thing ever? Or a parent forcing some classic band on a kid who just wants to hear Taylor Swift? Push it on them, and they’ll hate it. Let them enjoy it in their own way, and they’ll actually, you know, enjoy it. • Find something appropriate that you also enjoy. I can’t play violent video games — “Call of Duty,” “Resident Evil,” “Mortal Kombat” — around my kids. I also don’t feel right listening to certain music — any pop song with violence or sex — around them either. “OK for kids” doesn’t always equate to “childish.” You can find something you dig that’s OK for them to consume.

• Fake it, if you can. My kids often interrupt me reading a book or playing a video game. They want me to tell them the story. They want to play the game. I’ve been known to summarize a book I’m reading in kid-friendly terms or hand over a controller that’s not even plugged in. They enjoy the moment and move onto the next thing. • Introduce your hobby in their terms. My older son loves baseball. Well, he says he does. I think he just likes to sit on the couch with me. Inevitably, he asks what they’re doing on the field. I could go on all day about the Mets and the finer rules of baseball, but he’ll stop listening pretty quickly. What works better: “That guy throws the ball, and the other guy tries to hit it.” Simple. • Take an interest in what they’re doing. Rather than trying to bend your hobbies in a kid-friendly direction, join your kids in what they’re doing. Play the video games they like. Read the books they want. Draw superheroes for them. They’ll love the time you spend with them.

Kevin Coffey covers music and other entertainment for The World-Herald. He is married to editor Ashlee Coffey.


Personalized approach Huntington tailors SAT/ACT test prep to each teen’s abilities


hen it comes to teens preparing for success on the SAT or ACT, here’s something parents need to know: not all test prep programs are created equal. And one of the most important things parents should look for when evaluating companies that deliver test prep courses, says Gwyn Morris of the Omaha Huntington Learning Center, is whether the program meets students’ distinct needs. “Because no two students are exactly the same, the SAT/ACT prep course each student takes shouldn’t be the same either,” says Morris. “Huntington test prep programs are successful because they are customized to each student. Taking a one-size-fits-all approach to test prep results in some students getting left behind.” Morris shares several reasons that parents should seek out personalized SAT/ACT test prep for their collegebound teens: Every student has different strengths and weaknesses. An area of strength for one teen might be an area of weakness for another. Thus, a “broad brush” approach to preparing a group of students for the math test of the SAT is unlikely to work well for everyone. The content of what is taught and the methodology must be tailored to each student’s abilities. Every student learns at a different pace. Just as classroom teachers differentiate their instruction in the classroom, test prep teachers need to take into account that every student has unique challenges. A great SAT/ACT test prep curriculum will be efficient, focusing on areas where teens need the most help and delivering the content at a pace that works for them. Not all SAT/ACT tutors have the same qualifications. Too often, parents


assume that hiring any experienced tutor of high school students will work when it comes to helping their teens prepare for the SAT or ACT. Not true. It’s essential that teens work with qualified teachers who are experienced teaching the SAT and ACT. These teachers know the tests inside and out and understand that to achieve the best results, they must adapt their tactics and study plan, depending on the student(s). A personalized SAT/ACT test prep program begins with a practice test. It’s difficult for a test prep teacher to be as effective with students when they don’t first administer a diagnostic evaluation in the form of a practice exam. A fulllength, timed practice test not only gives students a true feel for what the SAT or ACT is like, it also gives their test prep teacher a baseline for instruction. With

detailed results, a teacher can develop an SAT/ACT prep program that addresses all weaker subject areas thoroughly. Morris says Huntington’s excellent track record with college entrance test prep is due to the learning center’s individualized approach, but parents should rest assured that Huntington SAT/ACT test prep is both specific and thorough. “When we work with a student, we cover all the bases,” she says. Making sure students are ready for each section and subsection of the exam is a big part of that, but we also cover essentials like improving their speed under pressure and stress management. The point is simple: the best test prep program is detailed and addresses students’ individual needs and goals.”

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WEIRD, WILD STUFF Teachers never know what they’ll find in those lockers at school’s end STORY Marjie Ducey COURTESY OF SHEILA TURBES


he school year is nearly over, and it’s time to empty those lockers. Kids always leave behind some hidden treasure. Some of it is in good shape. Like mittens and hats, which are donated to local shelters. But other things that teachers have found? Stand back! Here, teachers from the Omaha Public Schools share their most memorable locker finds. Dara Rosenberg, Alice Buffett Middle School The craziest thing I ever found in a locker was actually at the end of the semester. One of the kids was so excited about frog dissection that she (unknown to me) took frog


June 2019

parts and put them in her locker to take home and show her parents. Needless to say, some didn’t make it home − because they were dried out.

it. A gallon-sized plastic bag of slime had busted open. The student was selling it during passing periods.

Robin Franco, Florence Elementary Once a kindergartner snuck a school milk carton into a locker “to take home.” It was back when we had milk in plastic bottles. Well, it eventually exploded, and we thought something had died in our hallway. When I started checking lockers one by one − found it. Gag!

Elizabeth Padomek, Saddlebrook Elementary One year I had a student with a mini-chandelier hanging in her locker as a decoration. There’s always a kid who has basically every paper ever “mailed” home accumulated in their locker — as in they never made it into the backpack to go home. No wonder mom and dad never knew what was going on.

Heather Buschelman, Alice Buffett Middle School As we walked down the hall, we noticed this gook oozing out of a locker. So we opened

Meagan Nelson-Young, Monroe Middle School All of my missing pencils (probably 50) and a rotten apple. Together. Truly symbolic

of being an educator. Hannah Kolega, McMillan Magnet Center I found a nasty bag of decomposing fruit in a locker. Susan Aguilera-Robles, Spring Lake Magnet We had an (entrepreneur) selling candy out of her locker a few years ago. It was the first “bust” by our security guard. He was surprised by what he found. Jacqueline Morales, Central High School I have seen roller blades come out of lockers at the end of the year.




Zippy new attraction TreeRush Adventures opening in June at Fontenelle Forest


njoy a higher level of family fun this summer. Climb and zip at Omaha’s newest outdoor attraction: TreeRush Adventures at Fontenelle Forest. The aerial adventure park will include trails with challenges more than 50 feet above the forest floor for ages 7 and older. There also will be special climbing trails just a few feet off the ground for ages 4 to 8. “This will be an amazing way to create a family memory,” says Kema Geroux, TreeRush spokesperson. “It also will be great for groups of friends and families looking to share a new type of naturebased, exhilarating fun.” The TreeRush Adventures experience will begin inside Fontenelle Forest Nature Center, 111 Bellevue Blvd. N., where guests will be outfitted with full-body harnesses and specialized climbing equipment. After a briefing and practice time (about 40 minutes), guests will have two hours to explore aerial courses. The Adventure Park platform (for ages 7 and older) is the launch point for seven color-coded zipline trails over 5 acres of tree canopy. Bridges made from wood, rope and cable connect platforms in trees and on poles. The separate Kids Park allows pintsized thrill-seekers to experience the joy of physical accomplishment while a guardian walks beside them. Challenges include swinging wooden beams, tunnel crawls and ziplines just like the “big kids.” These trails, however, are just a few feet above the ground. TreeRush Adventures augments the forest’s mission of providing people with opportunities to enjoy and experience nature, says Merica Whitehall, executive director of Fontenelle Forest. An adventure park has been a longstanding dream of the association. “The new adventure park allows members and guests the opportunity to take their appreciation of our forest to the next level while preserving our mission, maintaining the natural beauty and allowing for quiet enjoyment of the forest’s surroundings,” Whitehall says. “I’m


June 2019


The aerial adventure park at Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue will feature suspended wooden platforms, tightropes and ziplines.

excited because, for years, guests have observed and learned about the raptors in our care. Now, they’ll be able to see the forest from a raptor’s point of view while exploring our majestic trees.” Reservations are recommended and

can be made at or at the TreeRush registration desk at the nature center, beginning in early June. The park is open daily beginning in June. For group rates (including birthday parties!) and other information, call 402-316-7038.

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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

WHAT’S IN THE GARAGE? Keep-trash-donate exercise helps you find out


uring the winter we pull into the garage and quickly close the door. Now that the temperatures have risen, we might linger a little longer. When we do that, we start to notice how messy things have become. One of the biggest obstacles to having a clean garage is deciding what to do with the stuff in the space. You can do an online search for options to dispose of metal and chemicals. There are also services that for a fee will take everything away for you and do the recycling and donating of items. This can be a quick way to get rid of items if you’re feeling overwhelmed. To start the garage cleanup, sort all items into groups: 1. Keep 2. Trash 3. Donate 4. Recycle 5. Belongs somewhere else 6. Belongs to someone else The keep items can stay in their current location for now. One thing I’ve learned over the years is to put the trash, donate and recycle items in different packaging. Have clear bags, black bags and/or white bags available throughout the process. Create an area for items that belong somewhere else. A common mistake is taking an item to where it belongs right when you see it. This can result in


June 2019

Getting as many things off the garage floor as possible will make it easier to keep clean.

loss of momentum. The minute you leave the clean-out area, distractions can pull you away from your project. The time to tackle this pile is at the end of your organizing. That’s when you can take items into the house. When only the keep items are left, you can start to organize. Take time to think through groupings of items and where the groupings will be located. An example: Put all gardening supplies in one space. Location will be determined by the amount of use and layout of the garage. If your gardening supplies are

high use, you want them to be handy and near an outdoor exit. If gardening is something you do once a year, then all your gardening supplies and tools (which should be minimal) can be put in a more remote location. Creating groupings of similar items is very helpful for when you need to retrieve a specific item. You’ll find it quicker. Raise as much off the floor as possible with hooks and shelving. The fewer items on the floor, the easier it is to clean the space going forward. Happy garage organizing!


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Profile for Omaha World-Herald

Momaha Magazine - June 2019  

A parenting magazine from the Omaha World-Herald

Momaha Magazine - June 2019  

A parenting magazine from the Omaha World-Herald