Learning, Solving, and Giving at King Science Center
SKIP THE Holiday Hoopla
A Publication of Omaha Magazine
The besT place for kids.
Charley, age 8 Harlan, IA Dilated Cardiomyopathy
Visit childrensomaha.org for more information on how we can help your child. For a pediatrician, family physician or pediatric specialist, call 1.800.833.3100.
Ugh, It’s Winter Again.
Volume 1 • Issue 7 PUBLISHER Todd Lemke
f you ’re planning a
vacation to somewhere warm, I would very much like to sneak into your suitcase right about now. I cannot stand winter. It’s cold, it’s wet, and, for some reason, people who have driven in snow for years suddenly can’t remember how to drive in snow. “Oh, but the snow is so pretty!” Yeah, maybe when you’re indoors all day with a well-stocked fridge. But when you have to spend 20 minutes getting all bundled up (double that time with kids) only to drive in bad traffic for an hour-and-a-half, it kind of loses its prettiness. To make matters worse, the Farmers’ Almanac says this winter is going to be brutal. Please excuse me while I go look at photos of beaches. In an effort to combat that “white stuff,” we’ve given you a very fresh, bright, non-December cover, featuring the aquaponics system at Omaha Public Schools’ King Science & Technology Magnet Center. This unique project (featured on pg. 23) allows students to grow plants through a cycle of water filtration and fish farming and get some experience in serving the community. Speaking of school, if this winter is going to be as bad as everyone says it will be, be ready for the kids’ favorite words: Snow Day. Building snowmen and snow forts is always fun, but it’s important to observe safe play during the winter. Hypothermia is a serious problem, and the last thing you want during a blizzard is a trip to the emergency room. Boys Town Pediatrics has some great advice on dressing your kids properly for outdoor play, recognizing signs of hypothermia, and how long they can stay outside before coming inside for a break on pg. 9. But enough about the bitter cold. It’s time for celebrating the holidays with family. Our “Mom on the Rocks” columnist, Leslie Murrell, says her family celebrates with a Christmas countdown, a wooden tree, and a few movies, including the ever-popular A Christmas Story (on pg. 29). Did I mention she has a Leg Lamp? Yeah. I want to join her family.
MANAGING EDITOR David Williams HER FAMILY EDITOR & WEB CONTENT EDITOR Bailey Hemphill ASSISTANT EDITOR Chris Wolfgang EDITORIAL INTERN Anna Hensel (#33) CREATIVE DIRECTOR John Gawley ART DIRECTOR Katie Anderson DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY & INTERACTIVE MEDIA Bill Sitzmann JUNIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Paul Lukes PRODUCTION ARTIST Marti Latka CONTRIBUTORS Jason C. Bruce, M.D. • Bev Carlson • Darcie Dingman Paige Edwards • Sarah Egan Deborah Gleich-Bope • Cherie Lytle Leslie Murrell • Connor O'Leary • Linda Persigehl VICE PRESIDENT Greg Bruns HER FAMILY ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Paige Edwards ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Gwen Lemke • Gil Cohen • Vicki Voet Sandy Matson SALES ASSOCIATES Alicia Smith Hollins • Jessica Linhart • Dawn Dennis
Happy Chrismahanukwanzakah! Stay warm.
TECHNICAL ADVISOR Tyler Lemke WAREHOUSE DISTRIBUTION MANAGER Mike Brewer For a one-year subscription (12 issues), send $9.95 to P.O. Box 461208, Papillion, NE 68046-1208. www.omahamagazine.com
Bailey Hemphill Editor, HerFamily Magazine
Comments? Story ideas? Send your letter to the editor: firstname.lastname@example.org Original contributions become the property of Omaha Publications. Contributions cannot be acknowledged or returned.
The information contained within HerFamily is for informational purposes only. It is not intended and should not be used to take the place of seeking professional advice, counsel or assistance. Omaha Publications makes no endorsement of and is not responsible for contributors or advertising herein. If you have concerns or questions related to your health, consult with you physician. HerFamily is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission of Omaha Publications, 402.884.2000. Owned and managed by Omaha Magazine, LTD
4 HerFamily • December 2013
Feeling better by bedtime
Same Day Pediatrics offers scheduled sick appointments 7 days a week. Itâ€™s not an urgent care center, but a real pediatric clinic for all Omaha children.
Call (402) 334-SICK to schedule an appointment at one of our clinics
Boys Town Pediatrics Pacific Street Clinic 14080 Boys Town Hospital Road (139th & Pacific, on Boys Town Campus)
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9 Prevent Hypothermia this Winter 10 The Real Bogeyman: Facing Trauma and Anxiety as a Child
12 For the Love of Pets 18 Family Success Story: The Murceks 23 Aquaponics: Learning, Solving, and Giving at King Science Center
27 Gingerbread Men 31 Endometriosis: When Pelvic Pain Deserves Medical Attention
16 Teen Voice: Social Media 20 Education: Holiday Gifts Educators Can Really Use
22 Fitness: Counter Pushups 29 Mom on the Rocks: Leg Lamps and Wooden Trees 30 Single Parent: Skip the Holiday Hoopla 38 Auto Care: Winter Ready
17 Young Hero: Tracy Christensen 28 Food: Jalapeño Hummus 37 Calendar of Events
Thanks to Armani Price and DeAjai Philmon with King Science Center & Technology Magnet Center for being on this issue’s cover. Photo by Bill Sitzmann
29 on the cover
Aquaponics: Learning, Solving, and Giving at King Science Center 23 Single Parent: Skip the Holiday Hoopla 30
17 6 HerFamily • December 2013
Learning, Solving, and Giving at King Science Center
SKIP THE Holiday Hoopla
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feature story by Jason C. Bruce, M.D, Boys Town Pediatrics.
Prevent Hypothermia this Winter
core tem ranges from 98-99 degrees. When playing outside in the cold and snow, however, a child’s body can lose heat quickly. That is when hypothermia becomes a concern. normal
Hypothermia occurs when the body’s core temperature drops below 95 degrees. Warning signs include: • Body shivers • Fingers and toes feel numb • Exposed skin may look puffy and blue • Lack of coordination • Muscle aches • Difficulty walking • Mental confusion • Slower breathing and heart rate • Irregular or erratic heart beat
Because severe hypothermia can be a life-threatening condition, a child with bestofomaha.com
any level of hypothermia needs immediate attention. Below are quick steps for treating hypothermia: • Remove your child from the cold and remove any wet clothing. • Warm your child with blankets around the body, especially the neck and chest. • Offer a warm beverage, if your child is able to drink. • Share body heat by using skin-to-skin contact by lying next to your child. • Cover yourself and your child with a warm blanket. If your child begins shaking violently or becomes confused, call 911. If breathing becomes very shallow or non-existent, begin CPR.
WINTER PLAY SAFETY TIPS
Boys Town Pediatrics encourages monitored outdoor play during the winter months. The best way to protect your child from hypothermia and other cold injuries is
to prevent them from ever happening. Just follow these winter safety tips from Boys Town Pediatrics: • Stay covered by wearing a hat. • Keep dry by wearing waterproof gloves and boots. • Play smart and come inside every 30-60 minutes to warm up. • Wear layers to help stay comfortable during play. If your child begins to complain of being cold or wet, make sure to take a break from play—go inside and grab a warm drink. Stay warm, have fun, and enjoy this winter season! Same Day Pediatrics, a service of Boys Town Pediatrics, offers scheduled same-day sick visits for all Omaha children. Same Day Pediatrics is not an urgent care clinic, but a real pediatric clinic with scheduled appointment times, seven days a week. Call 402-334-SICK (7425) to schedule an appointment.
HerFamily • December 2013 9
feature story by Bev Carlson, APR, Lutheran Family Services
The Real Bogeyman
Facing Trauma and Anxiety as a Child
I was a little girl, I knew my house was going to burn down. I didn’t just fear it. I knew it. I didn’t know when. I didn’t know how. But I just…knew. And in my young mind, the only thing I could do to prevent it was to think about it. To worry about it. If I worried about it enough, it wouldn’t happen, right? I had to wait. Just wait. I had to be ready so I could get everyone out of the house in time. At night, that meant that I positioned my bed near my door so I could lie awake and look down the hallway toward the kitchen to see the first licks of flame. During the day, it meant having a stomachache so bad that I had to stay home from school. That way, I was home and could be there to rescue my mother. What it led to was a loss of appetite and undiagnosed stomach pains that frightened my parents and pediatrician. I was hospitalized for a week while they ran test after test, trying to figure out why I couldn’t eat and why I was constantly complaining of an upset stomach. I was finally diagnosed with a “hyperacid stomach” and handed a bottle of Mylanta®. I felt like such a fraud. I knew why I was “sick.” I had literhen
10 HerFamily • December 2013
ally made myself sick with worry. And paralyzing fear. I was 11 years old. Old enough to understand how ridiculous my fears were. Still too young to realize the power of talking to someone about it, no matter how embarrassed I was. Finally, I found enough courage to confess to my mother, who was wonderful and kind. It was the beginning of my healing. My father later asked me how I was and assured me that, “We can replace anything in this house. That’s why we have insurance.” Which was fine, but it really wasn’t my concern. I was worried about losing my family. I had this horrible image in my mind of me opening my parents’ bedroom door and the two of them lying there as the bed burned. I couldn’t get past it. While the adults in my life really wanted to help me, they didn’t grasp the depth of my anxiety. It was real. It was constant and consuming. I almost felt I could touch it. It was at that moment I vowed to myself—if ever a child comes to me expressing their fear of something, I will listen. I will get them to talk it all out. I will reassure them and give them tools to cope. “Children can react to trauma in ways that adults don’t expect,” says Ryan Suhr, Statewide Administrator for Children omahamagazine.com
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Services at Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska. “Avoidance, anxiety, depression, and acting-out behaviors are just a few. Those behaviors have a function, and it is really up to adults to sort through that and try to understand what is happening.” Suhr goes on to say that a child’s ability to recover from trauma is directly related to the quality of their adult relationships. What finally brought me a peaceful night’s sleep was talking things out and a spiritual quote that encouraged me to “go to sleep in peace.” It took months, but eventually I could get through a full day—then two— without thinking of my house burning. Looking back as an adult, I know that I was picking up on subtle signals from my parents’ failing marriage. We had also helped with the recovery for one of my father’s coworkers who lost their home to fire just a few days before Christmas. And I had actually witnessed a mobile home burning a few weeks after that. I can see now how it all added up to a kind of trauma that I wasn’t able to process well. I share this story because adults can forget how real the bogeyman can be for a child. Even a smart fifth-grader who “should know better.” There’s much in this world that can frighten a child (or an adult, for that matter), and dismissing or discounting those fears can only make the child feel there’s something wrong with them and doesn’t help his or her recovery. Plus, there may be underlying reasons for unexplained physical ailments in children, especially when they just don’t “feel good” or they have a stomachache. Make sure to consider whether there might be something seriously troubling them and know that love, kindness, and conversation might be the best cure of all.
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Inspiring the world to rock on stage and in life. HerFamily • December 2013 11
feature story by Linda Persigehl • photos by Bill Sitzmann
For the Love of Pets
The Hanusek family’s life revolves around their pets, and that’s the way they like it.
deal in this house!” exclaims Kim Hanusek of Bennington, mom to Samantha, 9, and Leigha, 6. She’s also a second-grade teacher at Pine Creek Elementary in the Bennington Public Schools district. Kim is always eager to visit about the eight animals (yes, eight!) that complete her extended family. “First off, we have Tucker, 3, a purebred Boxer,” shares Kim. “My family has been raising Boxers for 20 years, and my sister and I grew up showing Boxers in 4-H. I have shown Tucker locally at shows in Lincoln and Omaha, but now he’s a ‘finished champion,’ which means he’s just a coach potato. “Then we have Piggy, a French Bulldog who’s 4 and also a nimals are a huge
12 HerFamily • December 2013
purebred. We got him from a breeder, and he actually looks like a pig.” Kim goes on to describe her three feline friends. Callie, a domestic shorthair Calico, was adopted from the Nebraska Humane Society seven years ago (which makes her the most senior pet of the household). Diamond, 4, is a Ragdoll, a domestic breed known for its gigantic size and limp body. “The kids like to hold him like a baby, and he’s so flexible, he folds up in half.” Then there’s Lily (age unknown), a domestic shorthair stray the family took in a couple years ago. “Another teacher spotted her in the snow on the playground one day, and I took her home. We didn’t intend to keep her,” Kim confesses, “but omahamagazine.com
Opposite page: Leigha, Brian, Samantha, and Kim with their horse, Coty. Above: The Hanuseks with their family pets.
[Leigha] had been asking for a cat of her own, and we were trying to get her to stop chewing on her blanket. I told her, ‘Little girls that chew on blankets don’t have their own cats.’ It worked like a charm,” Kim recalls with a laugh. The family also has two hamsters—gifts to the girls from their father, Brian, for Valentine’s Day last year. And just what does Dad think of all the animals in the house? “He grew up in a home where the dog stayed outside most of the time,” says Kim. “Then he found me and bestofomaha.com
met my family…He had to become an animal lover out of necessity! Now, he travels to dog shows with us and willingly goes along with it all. Truly, he loves seeing the enjoyment the girls get out of [the animals].” Last, there’s Coty, an 18-year-old paint horse that Kim got while in college. The family boards Coty at The Farm at Butterflat Creek in Bennington. “I did a little breakaway roping on her when she was young, but I was never successful,” Kim recalls. “She’s pretty ornery, but she’s turned out to be a great family pet. The girls and I ride her…
both girls took riding lessons this summer. Samantha hopes to ride competitively one day.” Samantha plans to begin showing Boxers next summer in 4-H Junior Showmanship competitions as well, Kim shares proudly. “My hopes are that both girls will show or train dogs in 4-H and more competitively in AKC-sanctioned shows when they get older,” she adds. “There’s a lot of enjoyment and pride that comes when you work hard and bond with a pet. The possibilities are endless with dog/owner activities. They might move » HerFamily • December 2013 13
(Clockwise) The girls play on the trampoline with Tucker. Kim and the girls brush Coty. Leigha with one of the family’s hamsters. Samantha with Diamond. Piggy the French Bulldog.
14 HerFamily • December 2013
Where Young Artists Come to Create! « on to dog agility, confirmation [breed judging], obedience, therapy dogs, and/or working with our breed-specific rescue group.” While the family pets are teaching her girls lessons about hard work and responsibility—they help clean cages, take the dogs to obedience classes, make sure all the animals are watered and fed daily, and other duties—Kim says they’re teaching them lessons in humanity as well. “They’re learning that the animals depend on them…that all animals need love and attention, and that playtime is a requirement of pet ownership, too. They’re learning that animals feel…and they’re all unique. Samantha, especially, has taken a real interest in learning about the differences in dog breeds and their temperaments and behavior.” The family has also done some work with a dog rescue club, which has allowed the girls to see how some pet owners treat pets as disposable. “I want them to understand that pet ownership is a commitment, and you don’t get rid of a pet because you’re bored with them or so you can get another. It’s not temporary,” adds Kim. Having so many pets does offer its challenges, Kim admits. The family has to budget for yearly vaccinations and heartworm pills, boarding and farrier fees, vet bills, and of course, pet food and supplies. All the expenses can add up. Taking any trip can also be a hassle. “We always have to ask, ‘Who’s going to take care of the animals?’ before we can go anywhere.” Recently, Kim and Brian approached the girls about taking a vacation to Disneyland. The girls’ response? “They told us they wanted to go to New Orleans where they make Pitbulls & Parolees or to the Florida Everglades to see where Gator Boys is shot.” These are two Animal Planet shows the family watches together. A love of animals is ingrained in them for life, Kim says. “A lot of what we do revolves around the animals, especially the dogs. They join us for fire-pit nights with the neighbors…they sleep in our bed…they’re there for just about everything.” And that’s just how the Hanuseks like it. bestofomaha.com
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HerFamily • December 2013 15
“Fall” in Love with Bliss!
story by Connor O’Leary,
a constant in our daily lives over the past few years. For my generation, Facebook started the trend. Everyone had an account during its prime. Facebook was essential in keeping up with everyone’s social lives. Pictures, birthdays, and other trivial news kept us up-to-date with current events. Today, most teenagers use media sites that are accessible on mobile devices. These sites allow them to stay up-to-date no matter where they are. Twitter and Instagram are at the top of social media for teens today. Twitter allows a person to tweet updates about themselves in 140 characters or less. Instagram is a social media application where users post pictures to their profile for everyone to see. These sites help my friends and I stay connected without seeing them in person. This is especially useful if everyone attends different schools or does not live in the same city. Almost everything in life is now connected to social media. It is necessary for a teenager to have at least one social media account to help with their daily lives. They can keep you updated on news, sports scores, or other information. Schools and teachers have also started utilizing social networks. Schools use social media to keep students well informed about activities going on within the school. Some teachers have started to use Twitter to post homework and class reminders. A teenager would miss out on current events and school information if they were not connected with social media. I enjoy social media, but I have also realized how much it has become a distraction. A balance between social media and faceto-face interaction is the healthiest option. Too much online interaction can be counterproductive. Sometimes, people need to put down their electronics and enjoy the life around them.
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young hero story by Bailey Hemphill • photo by Bill Sitzmann
16 years old when I had Tracy,” says mom Rene Miller. “I was not only very young, but also going down the wrong path. He is the reason why I turned my life around.” Around her 26th week of gestation, Rene was hospitalized due to eclampsia, a life-threatening hypertensive disorder of pregnancy. Tracy was removed from the womb in an emergency C-section, only weighing 1lb 7oz and measuring 12 inches long. “The doctors stressed the fact that he wouldn’t survive the first hour,” Rene recalls. But Tracy survived the night. And another. And another. When a week had gone by, the doctors didn’t know what to say, but they knew that his life would be a struggle from that point on. At 2 mos., Tracy, who weighed about two pounds, underwent surgery for a hernia. Yet again, the doctors didn’t know if he would survive. “I was able to hold him for the first time before he went into the operating room. I prayed for the first time in my life that God would work a miracle for my son.” While Tracy made it through his first surgery, Rene and the doctors had a feeling it wouldn’t be his last. Next, it was a brain hemorrhage at 3 mos. “[He] received a tube that ran from his head to a jar that drained the fluid building on his brain. The doctors were actually expecting a brain tumor to be found, but instead they just found fluid and a blood clot.” At around 5 mos., Tracy and Rene were able to go home. “It was right before my 17th birthday,” she remembers. “It was the best present ever.” But then Tracy began vomiting and having difficulty breathing. Even more troubling, he was unable to tolerate Rene’s breast milk, which was helping him gain the very weight and strength he so desperately was
needed. Back to the hospital they went. This time, Tracy underwent a fundoplication (a surgery which tightens the esophagus) and received a feeding tube (which fed him and helped him burp for several months after the surgery). And then came the multiple ventriculoperitoneal shunt surgeries to drain the fluid off his brain again. Shortly after being allowed to go home once more, Tracy was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Rene knew he would be developmentally delayed, but the biggest question in the back of her mind was whether or not her son would ever walk and talk. Physical, occupational, and speech therapists came to Rene’s home twice a week for a year to work with Tracy, as his weakened immune system made it hard to leave the house. “Tracy proved himself once again though,” Rene adds. “He said ‘Mom’ at 1½ years, and he walked around 3 years with the help of leg braces and a walker. He also pottytrained at 3½ years and started preschool.” The next decade proved difficult as well, what with Tracy getting meningitis and having seizures because of the damage to his brain. But he kept pushing through, as he had ever since he was a baby. Today, Tracy Christensen is a 16-year-old student at Blair High School, where Rene says “he blossoms.” He’s involved in the Special Olympics and works at the school office, and he’s also a big brother to an 8-year-old sister, Kaidence, who helps watch out for him. But it’s Tracy’s smile that helps Rene know her son is truly a hero after everything he’s been through—it “lights up your heart,” she explains. “Tracy has always inspired me. He saved me,” she says. “He has shown me and given me strength and opened my eyes to the world…He is the most amazing young man, and I don’t just say that because he’s my son.” Do you have a Young Hero in your life? Tell us their story. They might be featured right here on our Young Hero page! Contact Bailey Hemphill at email@example.com. Young Hero proudly sponsored by:
HerFamily • December 2013 17
feature story by Bailey Hemphill • photos by Bill Sitzmann
From left: Eric, Jamie, John, Cindy, and Will
Family Success Story The Murceks
part of life. Everyone encounters it at some point, and it usually strikes when least expected. And though no one grieves the same, the emptiness that follows losing a loved one is universal, whether it’s for a spouse, a parent, a sibling, a friend, a child, even a pet. But the true test is not the grief itself—it’s coming back from it. Looking at John and Cindy Murcek of Millard today, you wouldn’t know that they suffered a terrible family loss. John is a painting contractor; Cindy is a social studies and English teacher at Andersen Middle School in the Millard Public Schools district. They’ve been married for a little over 20 years. They have three children—sons Eric, 14, and Will, 7, and daughter Jamie, 5. “Eric’s in tennis. Will’s in football. Jamie’s in gymnastics…It’s kind of busy, but it’s the good kind rief is an unavoidable
18 HerFamily • December 2013
of busy,” Cindy says. When asked how the kids get along, she laughs. “Will and Jamie will either play together or be at each other’s throats. Eric, being the teenager, thinks they’re annoying sometimes. But they’re all good kids.” John and Cindy’s devotion to their children is what Cindy believes binds their relationship. “We want our children to know that they have a secure home, and that we’re giving them the best life that we can. I came from a divorced family, so it’s important for them to know that that will never happen. And John’s from a big Catholic family, so family and staying together has always been important to him.” Twelve years ago during the Thanksgiving holiday, however, their family was shaken when they were on their way back to Omaha from Billings, Mont., after visiting Cindy’s sister and her family. Their truck hit black
ice and rolled. John, Cindy, and Eric were all fine, but Cindy’s mom, who rarely traveled, and the Murceks’ oldest son, Andy, were killed. “It was devastating,” Cindy says. “That’s an understatement.” While they grieved, John and Cindy found support in each other. “I think that incident made John’s and my bond stronger. Nobody loved Andy like we did, nobody can break that, and nobody can understand our loss. We had that grief to share; and though we grieved differently, we both knew exactly what the other was feeling.” Eric, at the time, was 2. While he didn’t understand everything, he knew Andy was supposed to be there but wasn’t. “He’d ask where Andy was and if he could play with him,” Cindy says. “When we went to the grocery store, he’d ask if he could get Andy a snack. Of course, I let him. We’d even tell him stoomahamagazine.com
ries about Andy.” Although they missed their oldest son, Cindy says that she and John were grateful to still have Eric. “He was my reason to get out of bed in the morning.” Today, Cindy aches for Eric almost more than she did when he was too young to understand his brother’s death. “He’s a freshman in high school now. Andy would’ve been a senior. He would’ve had his big brother in school with him.” The grieving process for the Murceks was always about time. Some days were harder than others, but each day, it got a little easier. “As time goes on, grief is more a silent battle…You deal with it on your own, you face it, and go on.” During that silent battle, Cindy says she bought a “full library” of books on grief and went to grief groups, looking for a fix. But it was faith that turned everything around for her. “I wasn’t really a spiritual person before. My mom was,” she says. “It’s weird, but I feel like that’s why she was on that trip with us. She knew she was going to a better place and teaching me a little faith as well.” Cindy swears her mom is still teaching her lessons in faith to this day. She recalls a Sunday when her church’s pastor asked the conbestofomaha.com
gregation to open their Bibles to a specific verse. “My mom had given me a Bible several years before, and I’d never used it. But I brought it with me that day.” When Cindy opened the Bible to the verse, she realized it had been underlined. “I flipped through some more pages and saw that my mom had underlined verses she thought would be good for me to read. It was the most incredible thing.” Andy, too, seemed to connect with them in unexpected ways. “Last Christmas, we went to the cemetery to visit him,” she says. “I thought ‘Give me something from Andy, God.’ That night, we had a party, and a neighbor brought over a journal where other people had written about memories of Andy.” These little moments strengthened Cindy’s faith and helped her see that everything would be all right again. Then again, the addition of two more precious gifts took her mind off the grief, too. “We assumed it was just going to be the three of us.” But John and Cindy talked about having another child. Certainly, they viewed adding another child to their family differently after Andy’s passing. “Another person to love and lose,” Cindy says. Nev-
ertheless, it was a chance they were willing to take. In 2005, they heard about a young girl looking to give her baby up for adoption. “[Will] was born, and in six months, we had a new baby…We hadn’t really planned on it. It just kind of happened.” Another surprise took shape when Cindy found out she was pregnant. “I turned 40 and learned I was pregnant with Jamie. John and I were both like, ‘Two little ones in diapers? We can’t handle this!’” But Jamie, like Will, was a blessing in disguise. Cindy jokes that they finally got a “little princess” after all boys. “We feel truly blessed,” Cindy says. “Yes, we lost my son and my mom, but there are situations much worse. We’re glad to have a loving family.” For others grieving the loss of family members, Cindy has some good advice: “I would recommend that you let your family be there for you and understand that grief is a lifelong process…I realized that I couldn’t do it on my own, and that realization made me feel so much better. Just let people help you. Talk to families with similar losses. The sadness won’t go away, but the hopelessness will.” As for her mom and Andy, Cindy smiles. “I know we’ll see them again.” HerFamily • December 2013 19
education story by Deborah Gleich-Bope, M.S. Ed.
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For My Teacher!
Holiday Gifts Educators Can Really Use
a teacher, it always felt great when a family thought of me during the busy holiday season. It brought me joy every time one of my students handed me their little present with a big smile on their face, no matter what was inside. Now that I’m a parent, however, I’m in a unique position because I’ve got the inside scoop on the gifts teachers can really use in their own classroom. If you’re looking for a good gift for your child’s teacher, consider one of these: • Classroom educational games. As teachers, we’re always looking for fun ways for children to learn and reinforce skills. Teachers will always be happy to receive math, word, and strategy games. Even some of the classics—Boggle, Scrabble, Mastermind, Yahtzee— are great to have in a classroom. • Supplies. Having an endless array of stickers, stamps, colored index cards, cutouts, and colored pens always made me happy as a teacher! Many of these supplies are usually purchased out of the teacher’s personal funds, so saving us a few bucks by gifting these types of things is extremely appreciated. • Gift cards. Some of the best places to purchase gift cards for teachers are Barnes and Noble, Half Price Books, Lakeshore Learning Materials, Learning HQ, and Oriental Trading Company. All of these suggestions are places that teachers tend to frequent when we’re in need of something for our students. • Fund a project. I once had a parent offer to purchase supplies for one of my classroom projects, and that was awesome! Not only did it save me money, but it also saved me the time it took to shop for the materials. That was a gift I always remembered and appreciated, and the children benefited from it greatly! uring my time as
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story by Sarah Egan, BS, CPT, HKC, CES photos by Bill Sitzmann • modeled by Shaela Bruce
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22 HerFamily • December 2013
Follow Us on
cover feature story by Chris Wolfgang • photo by Bill Sitzmann
From left to right: Colton Allen, DeAjai Philmon, Kristine Denton, and Armani Price show they’ve got what it takes to keep their aquaponics system afloat.
Learning, Solving, and Giving at King Science Center
Allen, a seventh grader at King Science and Technology Magnet Center, counts the tilapia swimming circles in the horse trough. “Eleven?” he guesses. “Twelve?” It’s difficult to say, since the “tank” of his class’ aquaponics system is solid black. “The system can take more,” explains magnet facilitator Kristine Denton, “but this is our let’s-make-sure-they-survive phase. Later today, we’re actually getting perch.” “What?” Allen says. “I gotta be here for that.” Is there a benefit to having perch versus tilapia in an aquaponics system? “I don’t know yet,” Denton admits, laughing. “We’re going to find out.” Which is appropriate. The theme of King Center, one of Omaha Public Schools’ 19 magnet schools, is, after all, inquiry. The food-growing system that holds pride of place in her seventh-grade service-learning class is the result of Denton’s » olton
HerFamily • December 2013 23
24窶ォerFamily 窶｢ December 2013
Raising seedlings, monitoring pH levels, and designing tanks that will keep the fish from ending up on the classroom floor are all responsibilities of the seventh-grade service-learning class at King Science Center.
« desire to find “a really cool project that would get my students tied with the community.” In 2011, she attended the UNO Service Learning Academy, a weeklong program connecting public school teachers, professors, and the community, and discovered the aquaponics systems of Whispering Roots. She partnered with Greg Fripp, founder of the food education nonprofit, to bring the concept to her school, “and it’s been great ever since.” Three years later, Fripp still supplies the fish and helps troubleshoot a system that’s not complex but is all about balance. “These kids are engaging with next-generation techbestofomaha.com
nology,” says Fripp. “You try to teach pH levels at the board, and their eyes glaze over. But if you point out that it’s a life or death issue for the fish, then, yeah, they’re engaged.” DeAjai Philmon, an eighth grader, describes the concept of aquaponics with ease. The wastewater from the tilapia, she explains, is laced with ammonia, goes up a PVC pipe and dumps into a shallow wooden box of untreated 2x4s lined with plastic. Bacteria growing on the marble-sized clay balls that cover the plant roots in the box convert nitrites from the fish waste into nitrates, a fertilizer for the plants. About twice an hour, the box—essentially a gigantic biofilter—
drains cleaned water back down to the fish, completing a cycle that encompasses water filtration, fish farming, and vegetable production. The most expensive parts of the system, Denton says, are the UV lighting that hang just above the plants and the heater that keeps the 100 or so gallons of water at 78 degrees for the tilapia. “The plants are getting all their nutrients from the fish water,” Denton says. “You don’t need soil, you need the nutrients that come from the soil. Or in this case, the nutrients that come from the fish.” The iceberg lettuce in this box is about two weeks old. “We harvested recently so we » HerFamily • December 2013 25
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26 HerFamily • December 2013
« replanted seedlings,” Denton says, pointing to a set of six trays under grow lights. “We have some radishes, and we’re going to try peppers. We’re also going to try peas.” They’re climbing peas, so the kids will have to figure out how to give them proper support. “That’s like 90 percent of it,” she says, “figuring things out.” “Excuse me, Ms. Denton,” says Armani Price, also an eighth grader. “Is this basil?” She points to a tiny seedling with only a couple true leaves. Price says she’s getting better at identifying plants. She also assists with the school’s urban farm where she’s helped grow collard greens, jalapeños, bell peppers, tomatoes, watermelons, “and we did have a peach tree.” She’s discovering that fruit trees aren’t very easy. Price and Philmon were part of the class that helped finish building the frame that holds the bed’s grow lights. Students are 100 percent involved in building structures, Denton says, as well as being in charge of crop rotation, water testing, and fish care. » « “They’re responsible for making sure we have seeds and letting us know if we need to reorder.” Grants are in place for them to purchase supplies. “We want to start a salt water system, too,” says Price. “[Ms. Denton] said we’d want to grow things like seaweed and kelp. Is kelp good?” Denton allows that it’s okay while Philmon asserts, “It’s nasty.” “We have to plant things that might not be part of our palette,” Denton says, explaining the importance of learning about food and growing environments in other cultures. Either shrimp or a variety of saltwater fish will be the marine culture, which is a bit trickier than freshwater. Fortunately, the school partners with the Henry Doorly Zoo, which Denton says is very understanding of a learning process that might result in the loss of a jellyfish or two. The first year, a class of about 19 students looked after the system. This year, Denton has 26 in her seventh-grade service learning class. Aquaponics is only part of the service learning class: This year, students will create lessons on video to show to other schools, ensuring that they exercise presentation skills alongside gardening and engineering and science. “The social aspect is really key as well,” Fripp says. “What we do every day is engage kids on so many levels.” Another area of learning is in the art of giving. As part of her service-learning class, Denton and her students volunteer at Open Door Mission. When a food drive brought together a variety of canned and dry goods, some of her students asked, “Why can’t we donate fruit and lettuce?” Now, she and at least four kids take their aquaponics produce over to the mission after school every four to six weeks. “We’re able to harvest that quick,” Denton says. “And they immediately wash and serve it that night.” Not exactly everything is donated. The students always eat a first harvest themselves, and they haven’t forgotten about the fish. A true aquaponics system is about raising fish to eat as well as produce, and Denton says her students decidedly do not view the tilapia as pets. “We haven’t eaten any yet,” she says, “but they keep asking for a fish fry.”
feature story by Cherie Lytle, Children’s Hospital & Medical Center • photo provided by Children’s Hospital & Medical Center
the kids is a tradition in many families. This year, look for ways to trim up your favorite recipes and share a gift of good health. For more healthy recipes, visit HealthyKohlsKids.com. The Healthy Kohl’s Kids program is a partnership between Children’s Hospital & Medical Center and Kohl’s Department Stores to educate children and parents about healthy nutrition and fitness. aking holiday treats with
Ingredients • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour • 1 ¼ cups sifted whole wheat flour • ¾ tsp baking soda • 1 Tbsp ground ginger • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon • ½ tsp ground cloves • ½ tsp ground nutmeg • ½ tsp salt • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) trans fat free margarine, softened • ½ cup dark brown sugar • 1 large egg • ½ cup unsulphured molasses
Preparation 1. Preheat oven to 350°. 2. In a large bowl, sift together flours, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside. 3. In another bowl, using a hand mixer, cream together margarine and brown sugar until fluffy. Mix in egg and molasses until combined. Gradually add flour mixture. 4. Divide dough into thirds and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 2 hours, or until firm. 5. Dust rolling pin lightly with flour; roll out each piece of dough on wax paper until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Dip cookie cutter in flour and use to cut out gingerbread man (or other desired shapes). 6. Transfer cookies onto baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown. With a metal spatula, transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Yield: 32 cookies
Nutrition Facts Serving Size: 1 cookie, Calories: 100, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 6mg, Sodium: 106mg, Carbohydrates: 16g, Fiber: 1g, Protein: 1g * Nutritional information is based on ingredients listed and serving size; any additions or substitutions to ingredients may alter the recipe’s nutritional content
HerFamily • December 2013 27
food prepared by Bailey Hemphill • photo by Bill Sitzmann
Ingredients: • 1 cup garbanzo beans • 1/3 cup canned jalapeño pepper slices, juice reserved • 3 Tbsp tahini • 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 Tbsp lemon juice • ½ tsp ground cumin • ½ tsp curry powder • crushed red pepper to taste
Instructions: 1. In a blender or food processor, mix the garbanzo beans, jalapeño peppers (and reserved juice), tahini, garlic, and lemon juice. 2. Season with cumin, curry powder, and crushed red pepper. 3. Blend until smooth. 4. Serve with pita chips.
Source: allrecipes.com 28 HerFamily • December 2013
mom on the rocks story and photo by Leslie Murrell
Leg Lamps and Wooden Trees
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I decided to ask my kids what their favorite holiday traditions were. I was shocked when neither of them said “presents.” Max: “Movies and our countdown calendar.” Lucy: “I like our wooden Christmas tree.” So, there it is. Those are some of our favorite holiday traditions. I was surprised my kids liked the wooden Christmas tree that was passed down to me from my aunt. I was using it as an extra the first year we had it. By the next year, the kids were asking if we could ditch the traditional fake tree and just use the wooden one. So now, we adorn a wooden tree. The kids take pride in it, and I don’t get poked by needles setting it up. We all win. Each year, I also set up what I like to refer to as the secular countdown calendar. They get a little white bag for each day of December, counting down until Christmas morning. Each bag is filled with two Hershey’s Kisses and either a note, activity to do that day, or a little gift. Some of our countdown calendar ideas are: holiday socks, ornaments, a holiday movie, and at least two community service activities. Another favorite in our house is watching holiday movies. A Christmas Story is not just a 24-hour Christmas Eve favorite. We watch it year-round over here. I’m the proud owner of two leg lamps (one full size that indeed does pose a glow of amber in our front window, and a mini-size one that I keep for comfort in my office year-round). And thanks to losing a bet with my sister, I also own a bunny suit. Our celebration of actual Christmas in our faith is a beautiful and quiet one at church. All the secular stuff we choose to participate in, well, that’s fun, too. My husband and I try to help the kids understand the difference between “Christmas” traditions and “holiday” traditions. And then we embrace it all and run with it. No matter what, don’t beat yourself up so much on whether or not you’re exploiting your faith. Chances are, the presents, the overeating, the leg lamp, well…it all brings family and friends closer together. And no matter which holiday you’re celebrating, community and family are part of your faith—I guarantee it. Max hustles out the Christmas storage stuff: “Hey, Mom. This year, can we leave the leg lamp in the window all year?” Still not a word about getting presents. So I’m considering his request. Happy Holidays! Read more of Murrell’s stories at momontherocks.com.
HerFamily • December 2013 29
single parent story by Paige Edwards
Skip the Holiday Hoopla
s kids , we got
to live the fantasy. But now, as adults, it’s up to us to create the fantasy of the man in the red suit and the wonderment of one’s faith during the holiday. Being a single parent adds a unique, stressful, and pressure-filled layer all its own. Whether we want to make up for the fact that it’s only one adult doing all of the traditions, decorating, and planning to create those once in a lifetime memories, or even creating a substitute holiday because the kids won’t be there for the actual day—it takes a lot of mental gymnastics to get through the season. Last year, I knocked it out of the park when it came to Christmas. We went to church Christmas Eve, had the family over for our traditional spaghetti dinner, and I bought everything on my children’s Christmas lists. And guess what? The day after Christmas, I still felt a little disappointed, like something was missing. And might I add, so did my kids. This actually got me angry, but then I had a revelation. Why did I kill myself to do all of these things if it goes unnoticed and unappreciated? I began to take notice of what did stand out to my kids, and I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t the most expensive item they got Christmas morning, but my homemade coupons for extra privileges, the scavenger hunt with cheap items that Grandma does every year, and the cash in the bottom of their stockings. Could it be that the most important and memorable things about the holidays were the heartfelt and thoughtful touches? Lesson learned. I am relieved that the holidays can be just as special without all the hoopla.
30 HerFamily • December 2013
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When Pelvic Pain Deserves Medical Attention
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HerFamily • December 2013 31
Ginny Ripley, family practitioner at Nebraska Methodist Health System
« normally lines the inside of your uterus— the endometrium—grows outside the uterus, or anywhere else where it’s not supposed to
grow. It usually grows on the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, “The problem with endometriosis the outer wall of the uterus, is that it can be difficult the intestines, or other organs in the abdomen or pelvis. to diagnose.” The condition becomes Ginny Ripley, family practitioner at troublesome when the displaced tissue continues to act Nebraska Methodist Health System as it normally would if it was inside the uterus and contincan be difficult to diagnose,” says Ginny Riues to thicken, break down, and bleed with pley, family practitioner at Nebraska Metheach menstrual cycle. However, because the odist Health System. “It doesn’t show up in tissue is outside of the uterus, the blood canultrasounds or CAT scans, so the only defininot flow outside of the body. The displaced tive way to get a diagnosis is through surgery. tissue can build up around the affected area Surprisingly, we’ve found that the severity of and can become irritated, resulting in scar a woman’s symptoms do not correlate to the tissue, adhesions, or fluid-filled sacs called severity of the condition.” cysts. For women in their childbearing years, So while some women with extensive enthe adhesions may block the fallopian tubes dometriosis may have no symptoms at all, and cause infertility. others may experience painful periods, heavy “The problem with endometriosis is that it periods or bleeding, pelvic pain during ovu-
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32 HerFamily • December 2013
endometriosis, it is often a matter of ruling out other causes first before arriving at a diagnosis of endometriosis, notes Dr. Ripley. Other comKatherine Finney, M.D., obstetrician/gynecologist mon causes of pelvic pain include fibroids, University of Nebraska Medical Center chronic pelvic inflammatory disease caused lation, and pain during bowel movements or by long-term infection, pelvic congestion urination. The pain is usually located in the syndrome, an ovarian remnant, irritable abdomen, lower back, or pelvic areas. Many bowel syndrome, interstitial cystitis, and women don’t realize they have endometriosis musculoskeletal factors. until they go to the doctor because they can’t The type of treatment a woman receives get pregnant, or if they have a procedure will depend on the severity of symptoms for another problem. It is estimated that 20 and whether or not she is planning to beto 40 percent of women who are infertile come pregnant. Several treatments have to have endometriosis. be tried before it is determined what works Because of the difficulty in diagnosing best. Many women can be treated success-
“While the tissue growth may come back, it often cleans up the area long enough to allow a woman to conceive.”
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Beef Filets with Ancient Grain & Kale Salad Total Recipe Time: 35-40 minutes • Makes 2 servings
2 beef Tenderloin Steaks, cut 1 inch thick (about 6 ounces each)
1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
¼ plus 1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper, divided
1 cup thinly sliced kale
Salt 3 cloves garlic, minced, divided
½ cup pearlized farro ¼ cup dried sweetened cranberries or cherries 2 tablespoons sliced almonds 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Combine 1 clove garlic and ¼ teaspoon pepper; press evenly onto beef steaks. Combine beef broth, farro, remaining 2 cloves garlic and remaining ⅛ teaspoon pepper in small saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until most broth has been absorbed. Remove from heat. Stir in kale and cranberries. Cover; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in almonds and lemon juice. Season with salt, as desired. Meanwhile, place steaks on rack in broiler pan so surface of steaks is 2 to 3 inches from heat. Broil 13 to 16 minutes for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning once.
« Anti-inflammatories help reduce bleeding and pain. Birth control pills and hormone therapy help shrink the endometrial tissue by lowering hormone levels and help suppress the growth of additional endometrial implants—but they also prevent pregnancy. In more severe cases in which all other options have been exhausted, surgery may be recommended to remove the extra tissue growth, says Katherine Finney, M.D., obstetrician/gynecologist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Surgery is performed laparoscopically. This means that the doctor places a small, lighted tube through a small incision in your belly and looks for signs of displaced endometrial tissue. The tissue can then be removed or destroyed through heat or cauterization. “While the tissue growth may come back, it often cleans up the area long enough to allow a woman to conceive,” says Dr. Finney. “Rates of conceiving are higher after surgery, but some women may still need fertility treatments to help as well.” If pregnancy is not a goal, medications, such as hormone therapy, can be taken following surgery to prevent the growth of new or returning endometriosis, says Dr. Finney. For women with severe pain due to endometriosis, a hysterectomy may be considered as a last option; however, this is rarely needed anymore. “We do far fewer hysterectomies today than we have in the past because we have so many other effective options,” says Dr. Ripley. Some women may not require treatment, as they have no or only mild symptoms, while others can have notable symptoms due to pain and/or infertility issues. Treatment is typically based on symptoms. If you are near menopause, you may want to consider managing your symptoms with medications rather than surgically. Once you stop having periods, endometriosis will usually stop causing you problems, notes Dr. Finney. In rare cases, post-menopausal women will still experience continued pain, in which case their physician should evaluate them to determine if they are a candidate for surgery.
Season steaks with salt. Serve with farro mixture.
34 HerFamily • December 2013
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36 HerFamily • December 2013
Calendar of Events
Narnia, Dec. 6-29
Photo provided by The Rose Theater
Penguins and Pancakes, Dec. 27-29 Photo provided by Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium
Holiday Poinsettia Show, Nov. 29 - Jan.5. Photo provided by Lauritzen Gardens
FOR THE KIDS
FOR THE FAMILY
FOR MOM & DAD
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
JACOB MARLEY’S CHRISTMAS CAROL
THROUGH JANUARY 5 AT STRATEGIC AIR & SPACE MU-
THROUGH DECEMBER 22 AT OMAHA COMMUNITY PLAY-
THROUGH DECEMBER 22 AT BLUE BARN THEATRE, 614 S.
SEUM, 28210 W. PARK HWY. Exhibit
showing the real math behind what kids love most—video games, sports, fashion, music, robotics, and more. Daily/10am-5pm. $12 adults, $11 seniors & military, $6 ages 4-12. 402-944-3100 – sasmuseum.com
HOUSE, 6915 CASS ST. Experience
Omaha’s favorite holiday tradition as Ebenezer Scrooge goes on a life-changing journey through his past, present, and future. W-Sat/7:30pm; Sun/2pm. (Admission) 402-553-0800 – omahaplayhouse.com
11TH ST. This twist on Dicken’s original story picks
GOOSE BUMPS! THE SCIENCE OF FEAR
DECEMBER 6-29 AT THE ROSE THEATER, 2001 FARNAM
THE MADRIGAL CHRISTMASSE FEASTE
up with the story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s business partner, Jacob Marley. F-Sat/7:30 pm; Sun 6pm; No show December 5. $25 adults, $20 students and seniors 65+. 402-345-1576 – bluebarn.org
This musical version of C.S. Lewis’ classic children’s novel transports audience members to the enchanted world of Narnia without having to go through a magical wardrobe themselves. F/7pm; Sat-Sun/2pm; Dec. 26/7pm. $25 main floor, $20 balcony, members save $7 per ticket. 402-345-4849 – rosetheater.org
DECEMBER 3 AT REGENCY MARRIOTT BALLROOM, 10220
HOLIDAY LIGHTS FESTIVAL
DECEMBER 6-29 AT OMAHA COMMUNITY PLAYHOUSE,
SUPPER WITH SANTA
THROUGH DECEMBER 31 AT GENE LEAHY MALL, 14TH
6915 CASS ST.
DECEMBER 19-22 AT OMAHA’S HENRY DOORLY ZOO &
& FARNAM STS.
THROUGH JANUARY 5 AT DURHAM MUSEUM, 801 S. 10TH ST. Test
yourself against four common fears. Observe how fear changes and learn simple ways to combat stress. Tu/10am-8pm; W-Sat/10am5pm; Sun/1-5pm. $9 adults, $7 seniors (62+), $6 ages 3-12, free for members and children 2 & under. 402-444-5071 – durhammuseum.org
AQUARIUM, 3701 S. 10TH ST. Come join Mr. and Mrs.
Claus without having to trek all the way to the North Pole. There will be supper, crafts, pictures with Santa, and more. Daily/6-8pm. $20 nonmembers, $15 members, free for children 2 & under. 402-738-2038 – omahazoo.com PENGUINS AND PANCAKES DECEMBER 27-29 AT OMAHA’S HENRY DOORLY ZOO &
Enjoy pancakes, crafts, and animal visits from the African penguins. Daily/8:30-10 am. Free with regular paid zoo admission. 402-738-2038 – omahazoo.com AQUARIUM, 3701 S. 10TH ST.
FIRST NIGHT OF PLAY
Join the Omaha community at the Thanksgiving Lighting Ceremony on November 21, which kicks off the six-week Holiday Lights Festival events 402-345-5401 – holidaylightsfestival.org
Enjoy this Renaissance-style holiday celebration hosted by the Lord and Lady of the Manor, complete with a multi-course feaste. 6pm. $52 individual, $48 groups of 10 or more. 402-556-1400 – ibsencostumes.com REGENCY CIR.
YESTERDAY AND TODAY
This all-request Beatles tribute show gives audience members a chance to share stories and relieve memories with their favorite Beatles songs. Tickets are $38. Th-Sat/7:30pm: Sun/2pm. 402-553-800 – omahaplayhouse.com THE MET: LIVE – VERDI’S FALSTAFF
HOLIDAY POINSETTIA SHOW
DECEMBER 14 & 18 AT FILM STREAMS, 1340 MIKE FA-
THROUGH JANUARY 5 AT LAURITZEN GARDENS, 100
This spectacular exhibit includes a 20-foot-tall poinsettia tree, beautifully decorated holiday trees, antique sleighs, and several passenger and freight model trains. Daily/9am-5pm (Closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day). $7 adults, $3 ages 6-12, free for kids 5 & under. 402-346-4002 – lauritzengardens.org BANCROFT ST.
Verdi’s masterpiece returns in a production by Robert Carson featuring Ambrogio Maestri singing the title role of Sir John Falstaff. Dec.14/11:55am; Dec.18/6pm. $20 Film Stream members and Opera Omaha subscribers. $24 general admission. 402-933-0259 – filmstreams.org WYNONNA & THE BIG NOISE
DECEMBER 31 AT OMAHA CHILDREN’S MUSEUM, 500 S.
THE UGLY SWEATER RUN
DECEMBER 15 AT RALSTON ARENA, 7300 Q ST. Five time
This New Year’s celebration is perfect for the whole family and leaves time for parents to celebrate afterwards, too. Enjoy face painting, balloon artists, a dance party, food, goodie bags, and more. 6-8:30pm. $14 non-members, $10 members. 402-342-6164 – ocm.org
DECEMBER 15 AT CENTURYLINK CENTER OMAHA, 455 N.
Grammy®-winning country star Wynonna Judd will perform “A Simpler Christmas,” mixing classic Christmas favorites with her own holiday songs and backed by her band The Big Noise. 7pm. Tickets from $39-99. 800-440-3741 – ralstonarena.com
Now grandma’s reindeer sweater can be used for more than just the annual office Christmas party in this fun 5K race that’s anything but pretty. Participants are also asked to bring one new toy to donate to Toys for Tots. Tickets from $34-50. 402-341-1500 – theuglysweaterrun.com 10TH ST.
HerFamily • December 2013 37
story by Darcie Dingman, Dingman’s Collision Center
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38 HerFamily • December 2013
to be able to call in to work every time we had a little bit of snow, but that just isn’t realistic. We have to get out there and brave the snow and ice in the winter months. Still, there are a few things you can check to make your winter driving safer: Wiper blades – Your wipers should clear the dirty slush that continually flies onto your windshield without leaving a smeary mess. If not, they need to be replaced. Keep in mind that it’s recommended to replace wiper blades annually. Always having enough windshield wiper fluid is important, too, particularly fluid that withstands freezing temperatures. Battery – If your battery is more than three years old, it’s a good idea to have a certified battery shop or mechanic test the battery. You don’t want to be stranded due to battery issues that could have been avoided. Tires – Monitor your tire pressure and tread frequently throughout the winter. Your tire pressure may have dropped along with the temperatures. For every ten degrees the temperature drops, tires average a loss of one pound per square inch. Your tires should also have adequate tread on them. Having them checked out by a professional before a big snow is a good idea. Always have a spare tire and jack with you as well. Belts and Hoses – Have a professional check them to make sure there are no leaks, bulges, or fraying. The cold weather will only exacerbate these issues, making the hoses and belts more brittle. Radiator – Make sure that your radiator is filled with the proper water/anti-freeze mixture that is recommended by your vehicle manufacturer. Gas tank – Always keep a quarter to a half-gallon of gas in the tank at all times to prevent moisture buildup in the tank. It’s also a good idea to have a winter weather kit in your vehicle. To make an emergency kit, include a blanket, boots and gloves, an extra set of warm clothes, food and water, an ice scraper, a small shovel, a flashlight, windshield washer fluid, flares, jumper cables, a first aid kit, and an abrasive material to help if you get stuck (such as sand or kitty litter). t would be nice
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