April 27, 2018

Nebraska Authors {Giveaway}

I may have mentioned a time or two (or 100) that I wrote a book last year. “Lost Restaurants of Omaha” – it’s a good read. ūüėČ I’m in good company – a few of my fellow bloggers have become Nebraska authors, publishing fantastic books in recent months, too. These helpful nonfiction books are dedicated to saving you money or suggesting things to do in Omaha and across Nebraska. Basically, read them all so you can save money to explore Nebraska.

Read on because once you learn about these new books, you’re going to want to read them on the NEW Kindle Fire 7 tablet we’re giving away!

Disclosure: Giveaway not affiliated with or associated with Amazon. Oh My! Omaha is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

 

Five books have been published by myself and fellow bloggers in the last six months – “Lost Restaurants of Omaha,” “100 Things To Do In Omaha Before You Die,” “The Extraordinary Art of Budgeting,” “The Extraordinary Art of Meal Planning,” and “Detour Nebraska: Historic Destinations and Natural Wonders.”

‚ÄúThe Extraordinary Art‚ÄĚ Series

Local author, Nicole McDonald, shares money saving advice on her blog MomSavesMoney.net and teaches classes in the Omaha area. This year she released two new books in her popular Extraordinary Art series. Her expert advice in ‚ÄúThe Extraordinary Art of Meal Planning‚ÄĚ will help you take back family dinner while saving time and money. If you are ready to live debt free and in financial freedom, check out her third book in the series ‚ÄúThe Extraordinary Art of Budgeting.‚ÄĚ

money saving books

Learn a bit more about Nicole in this Omaha Bloggers feature!

“100 Things To Do In Omaha Before You Die”

Omaha is often called the best-kept secret in the United States. Once they‚Äôve been there, visitors tend to fall in love with the city and its people. Referred to as the Gateway to the west, Omaha has so much to offer, from history, hiking, and an exciting local beer scene to great food. Tim and Lisa Trudell from the popular travel blog, The Walking Tourists, take you on a tour of Omaha‚Äôs unique and interesting sites and include some fun facts and helpful tips in their new book, “100 Things to Do in Omaha Before You Die.” Whether you are up in Omaha, call yourself an Omahan now, or are just passing through, this book will make you stop and say, ‚ÄúI didn‚Äôt realize that was in Omaha.‚ÄĚ

things to do in Omaha

Learn more about Lisa and Tim in this Omaha Bloggers feature! I created my own Omaha Challenge inspired by the book.

“Detour Nebraska”

‚ÄúDetour Nebraska: Historical Destinations and Natural Wonders‚ÄĚ explores both the familiar and lesser know places worth exploring across Nebraska. Author Gretchen M. Garrison finds Nebraska to be a fascinating state. She started writing about the people and places or Nebraska both past and present on her blog, Odyssey Through Nebraska. Whether you are an armchair explorer or an adventurer, this book is your guide to knowing more about Nebraska.

I wrote more about the things in “Detour Nebraska” that I want to add to my Nebraska Bucket List in this post.

“Lost Restaurants of Omaha”

“Lost Restaurants of Omaha” shares the stories and photos behind some of Omaha‚Äôs iconic restaurants that have closed. The history of famous eateries go beyond the food on the menu and dive into the families that ran them and the roles they may have played in historic moments in the city. Restaurants featured in the book include French Caf√©, Piccolo Pete’s, Mister C’s, Ross‚Äôs and Bohemian Caf√©, and more than two-dozen more.

“Lost Restaurants of Omaha” is written by yours truly, Kim Reiner. Interested in author appearances? Bookmark this post; I update it regularly.

Nebraska Authors’ Giveaway

To celebrate the release of our new books, we are giving away a Kindle Fire 7 Tablet – 8 GB ($49.99) to one lucky winner. Easy entry using the Rafflecopter form below. Winner will be selected May 13 and contacted via email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

April 22, 2018

8 Great Parks In Omaha

There was a great Facebook conversation going on about parks in Omaha¬†recently. Everyone has an opinion about parks and what makes them the best: Sand vs. non-sand, themes, variety, location, crowd levels. So I’ll chime in below with my favorite parks.

This “8 Great” list is the first in the series I’ll be doing on the blog with reader input on what to include. Check back for future ones on breweries, restaurant patios, and more!¬†If you’re bored with your neighborhood park, here are some of my family’s favorite parks in Omaha. If you’re looking for parks with hiking trails, here’s a list of seven great trails for families near Omaha.

Omaha parks

Benson Park & spray ground

Where: 7002 Military Ave.

Size: 217.3 acres

Why: This park’s playground is outstanding–and a no-sand playground to boot–and it’s next to a fun (and popular) splash pad. The small lake is nice for a stroll and fishing is allowed.

Sand: No

Summer time at Benson @omahaparks!

A post shared by Kim Reiner (@ohmyomaha) on

 

Elmwood Park

Where: 802 S. 60th St.

Size: 216.4 acres

Why:¬†This park’s playground was recently updated, with some nice climbing areas added to it. Elmwood is one of my favorite parks because of the open space and the trails surrounding it. Take a short walk through the woods to imagine a little escape from the city. And if you’re so inclined, there is a fitness area right next to the playground where you can sneak in some weight-bearing exercises in while the kids play (I’m never so inclined).

Sand: Yes

 

Hanscom Park

Where: 3201 Woolworth Ave.

Size: 58 acres

Why: Omaha’s oldest park often gets overlooked by shinier new parks. However, its playground was updated in 2017, and it’s a great one. This park also has the perk of lots of gorgeous trees, a nice little lake, a pool, and a dog park.

Sand: Yes

 

Hummel Park

Where: 3033 Hummel Park Road

Size: 202 acres

Why: This is our favorite city park for hike! It also has the best special events (so check the city’s calendar from time to time). The playground consists of rather large metal slides. They look cool, and my kids love them, but if you’re a nervous parent, I’d stay clear until your kids are steady climbers.

Sand: No

 

Lawrence Youngman Park

Where: 192nd Street and West Dodge Road

Why: This lakeside park has a pretty sizeable playground, a boat ramp, and fishing is allowed. And the covered picnic area is a nice bonus.

Sand: Yes

 

Standing Bear Lake

Artist rendering of the new Standing Bear Lake playground.

Where: 6404 N. 132nd St.

Size: 685 acres

Why:¬†I like Standing Bear Lake for the lovely trail, but soon, it’s getting a new playground with a Native American them. The good news is: It won’t have sand.

Sand: No

 

 

Zorinsky Lake Park

Where: 3808 S. 156th St.

Size: 1,023 acres

Why:¬†This is my absolute favorite park to run the trails, and they’re good for bike rides, too. The trail to the west of 168th Street is so wooded, you’ll feel removed from the city. The main playground near the boat ramp is huge and a hit with kids.

Sand: Yes

 

Plus one beyond Omaha

If you look beyond the Omaha metro, you’ll encounter more fun parks to visit. One to keep on your radar is in Council Bluffs:

Dreamland Park

Where: Lake Manawa State Park, Council Bluffs, Iowa

Why:¬†This large, wooden park located in Lake Manawa State Park in Council Bluffs, Iowa, was originally designed by kids’ submissions of what the perfect playground would look like. It’s pretty cool, though a bit rundown. The good news is that Dream Playground Reimagined is in the works and it may, someday, get a makeover. Until then, it’s still fun to visit (just look out for splinters). Lake Manawa State Park also has trails and a small beach.

Sand: Yes

 

I’d love to know your favorite parks in Omaha! Please leave a comment with your favorites.

 

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April 16, 2018

How To Start A Hefty¬ģ EnergyBag™ Program Routine In Your Home

Earlier this month, I shared details on the¬†Hefty¬ģ EnergyBag™ program. At the same time, I started using them in my own home. Since then, I learned a few things about teaching the whole family what goes in the orange bags.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by¬†Hefty¬ģ. All thoughts, opinions, and typos are my own.

 

 

Want to start using Hefty¬ģ EnergyBag™¬†orange bags in your home? Here are my tips for getting started:

Buy the bags

Seems obvious, but you have to know where to buy these special orange bags in Omaha.¬†Hefty¬ģ EnergyBag™ orange bags are available at all Omaha Hy-Vee grocery stores. I shared a list of the locations here.

Hefty¬ģ EnergyBag™ orange bags are available at area Hy-Vee stores.

I recommend calling customer service before your visit to make sure your closest Hy-Vee has the orange bags in stock.

Hefty¬ģ EnergyBag™ orange bags are available in packs of 20. I estimate my family of four fills almost two bags a week.

Keep the Hefty¬ģ EnergyBag™ Non-Recycled Plastics list visible

A lot of plastics can be placed in the orange Hefty¬ģ bags. To remember what you can put in the bags, think of this: “If you don’t bin it, bag it.”

– Potato chip bags and other snack bags
– Candy wrappers
– Granola bar and energy bar wrappers
– Plastic and foam cups, plates and bowls
– Shredded cheese packages
– Salad bags
– Plastic pet food bags
– Frozen fruit & vegetable bags
– Pudding cups
– Stand-up pouches
– Squeezable baby food pouches
– Foam to-go boxes
– Packing peanuts
– Plastic utensils
– Plastic straws and stirrers
– Cake mix liners and other dry powder mix liners
– Plastic toothpaste tubes
– Condiment packets
– All other non-recycled plastic bags

There was a list inside the Hefty¬ģ EnergyBag™ pack I purchased, so I taped it on the wall near our recycling bin so everyone can refer to it.

If you have a family command center, wall calendar, or some other space in your home where you keep important family information and dates handy, I recommend adding this list to reference.

Remind everyone regularly

My family was used to throwing a lot of plastics away, so it wasn’t easy to change that habit. Straws, wrappers, salad bags always went in the trash because we knew they couldn’t be recycled. Now these items can go in the¬†orange bags.

I put the non-recyclable plastic items like a frozen veggie bag or straws in the orange Hefty¬ģ bag.

What works best for my family is gentle and frequent reminders of what can be put in the bag. I’m pretty specific about it, too, suggesting what should be placed in the Hefty¬ģ EnergyBag™ orange bags and what should be thrown away or put in the sink.

Put the full bags out with the recycling

The full orange bags are picked up along with your regularly scheduled recycling pick-ups.

The¬†Hefty¬ģ EnergyBag™ program was easy to integrate into our weekly trash day routine, because it is picked up along with our recyclables. You can put the full Hefty¬ģ EnergyBag™ orange bags into your recycling bin; it will then be picked up as part of normal service and schedule. If you’re wondering what happens to those plastics next, read this post.

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April 15, 2018

What’s TAGG & How Can A Family Use It?

If you’ve been following me on social media, you may have noticed a post or tweet (or two) about Together A Great Good, or simply, TAGG. TAGG is a local app that helps you easily raise money for causes you support. It’s super simple.

Here’s How TAGG Works:

Step One: Download the TAGG app.

Step Two: Visit participating businesses and snap a photo of your receipt.

Step Three: Choose which cause to support. The business will donate to your cause.

Step Four: Share your good deed with others (ie. tweet or post about it).

Super simple. And it’s been around for a while and keeps growing (I wrote about it two years ago), so if you aren’t already, it’s time you started TAGGing.

And there really isn’t a catch to it. If you shop or dine in Omaha, there’s a good chance that you’re frequenting businesses that participate in TAGG. There are even services like insurance, chiropractic care and roofing that are on the list. See the current list here.

A night out at V. Mertz makes a great date night and it’s a participating TAGG business, so V. Mertz will donate a portion of your bill to a cause of your choice.

 

Plan a nice night out – like a date night to V. Mertz – and you can donate a nice chunk of change to your favorite nonprofit.

Things Families Might TAGG

My kids and I joined fellow bloggers at The Makery recently for a TAGG event to make succulents. Even making succulents at The Makery is a TAGG-able thing.

My kids and I made our own succulents at The Makery. When you go to The Makery, you TAGG your purchase and The Makery will donate a percentage of your bill to the cause of your choice.

I think families will likely TAGG a lot of restaurant outings. Some of my family’s favorite restaurants are TAGG businesses, including Blatte Beer & Table, eCreamery, and¬†Varsity Sports Cafe & Roman Coin Pizza (49th and Dodge location only).

That’s just the food stuff, though. You can also TAGG your outings to¬†Aksarben Cinema (concessions & bar only), Boulder Creek,¬†BounceU, Dave & Buster‚Äôs, Maplewood Lanes, Papio Bowl, Papio Fun Park,¬†Pump It Up, Sempeck‚Äôs Bowling and Entertainment,¬†The Escape Omaha, and¬†Tregaron Golf Course… for example.

And because we’re all forgetful (or is it just me?), you have some leeway on TAGGing things. We went on a trip to Lincoln and I forgot to TAGG our afternoon at Lost in Fun. You have a week to TAGG your receipt, so even if you forget the day you made your purchase, you can still TAGG it.

What Can You Support With TAGG

The app allows you to create a list of charities, teams and organizations you want to support. When you’re ready to TAGG a purchase, choose from them for each purchase. Or just pick one and funnel all of your donations to it. Your call.

For families, this may mean choosing a sports team, a school PTA, or church. My current causes include my kids’ school, some local theaters, the rescue groups that saved our family dogs, and American Cancer Society.

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April 9, 2018

What To Do In Omaha With Non-Recyclable Plastics

With Earth Day this month, reducing our waste is high on my mind. We finally started recycling our glass this year, but I know there’s more my household can do. Last year, I told you all about the¬†Hefty¬ģ EnergyBag™ program. It’s time to revisit it since they’re now even more convenient to purchase and begin using.

Hefty Energy Bag

Since the program started in 2016, it’s grown, and now it’s at¬†Hy-Vee stores near me. So, stay tuned for me sharing our experience trying the program later this month!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by¬†Hefty¬ģ. All thoughts, opinions, and typos are my own.

Let’s dive into the program.

What is the¬†Hefty¬ģ EnergyBag™ program

You’re probably already familiar with Hefty’s¬ģ¬†strong, dependable waste bags, but Hefty’s¬ģ is also a leader in slider bags, foam plates, and plastic cups. The cool thing about the >Hefty¬ģ EnergyBag™ program, is that it offers a solution for the plastics around your house that typically can‚Äôt be recycled mechanically.

Consumers can buy the orange¬†Hefty¬ģ EnergyBags™, fill them with plastics, and then have that bag picked up curbside. The plastics are then sorted and converted into energy to produce cement.

This isn’t a recycling program, so keep on gathering your recyclables. This is a solution for collecting plastics that cannot be recycled.

How the¬†Hefty¬ģ EnergyBag™ Program works

The Hefty¬ģ EnergyBag™ is picked up along with your regular recyclables and trash. The non-recyclable plastics you wouldn’t place in your regular recycling bin can typically go into the¬†Hefty¬ģ EnergyBag™.

– You collect your non-recycled plastics in the bright orange bag.

– Once you fill a bag, you place it curbside with your other recyclables and trash for pick up as part of normal service and schedule.

– The non-recyclable plastics are then taken to a local materials recovery facilities and sorted.

РThe non-recyclable plastics then sent to a local energy recovery facility, where plastics are converted into valuable energy resources.

What can be collected in a¬†Hefty¬ģ EnergyBag™ orange bag

A lot! This is what I’m thrilled about. As a family with young kids, we have more than our fair share of plastic wrappers and waste that previously we just threw away.

Here’s what can be put in a Hefty¬ģ EnergyBag™ orange bag:

– Potato chip bags and other snack bags
– Candy wrappers
– Granola bar and energy bar wrappers
– Plastic and foam cups, plates and bowls
– Shredded cheese packages
– Salad bags
– Plastic pet food bags
– Frozen fruit & vegetable bags
– Pudding cups
– Stand-up pouches
– Squeezable baby food pouches
– Foam to-go boxes
– Packing peanuts
– Plastic utensils
– Plastic straws and stirrers
– Cake mix liners and other dry powder mix liners
– Plastic toothpaste tubes
– Condiment packets
– All other non-recycled plastic bags

Why use a¬†Hefty¬ģ EnergyBag™?

– The big thing for me is that this program reduces landfill waste – by the tons. I’ve been throwing all of this stuff away.

– It also creates more local energy resources and less fossil energy dependence.

– It converts non-recycled plastics into alternative energy, which can be used to power businesses, cars and homes.

РIt makes things super easy for you. The non-recycled plastics are collected at curbside along with your normal hauler pick up.

– It improves the quality of other recycling streams/channels.

Where can you find these bags?

That was a big question on my blog last year. The program began just in Omaha, and now it’s grown to¬†Louisville, Ralston, Papillion and La Vista, Neb. In May, it should start in Bellevue. Currently, the bags can be purchased locally at participating Hy-Vee stores:

–¬†5150 Center St.

– 14591 Stony Brook Blvd.

– 8809 W. Center Road

– 7910 Cass St.

– 9707 Q St.

– 747 N. 132nd St.

– 17810 Welch Plaza

– 1000 S. 178th St.

– 11650 S. 73rd St.

– 10808 Fort St.

– 3410 N. 156th St.

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April 8, 2018

100 Things To Do In Omaha Challenge

When my friends, Tim and Lisa, published their first book “100 Things To Do In Omaha Before You Die,” Lisa asked how many I’ve done. As bloggers at The Walking Tourists, they write a lot about Omaha, as do I (obvs). So, I too wondered how many I could check off.¬†Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Oh My! Omaha is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

things to do in Omaha

Answer: I’ve done about 75 things in the book. Being a completionist, there are some half-finished sections that I don’t want to count, like the coffee shop list that has just one place left to visit (The Bike Union/The Coffee Union) and the classic steakhouses (I’m missing The Drover and Cascio’s).

So I’ve got about 25 things to check off from¬†“100 Things To Do In Omaha Before You Die.” Rather than list all of them, here are the 10 I’ve set up as a mini challenge for me to visit before summer ends. As you’ll see in my list, the book covers a good variety of things to do in Omaha, from dining and sports to arts and history.

If it ever begins. Will winter ever end in Nebraska?!

100 Things To Do In Omaha Mini Challenge

1. Alpine Inn

I know you’re shocked to hear I haven’t gone to this quirky restaurant, where the main draw is watching wild raccoons pick through chicken bones out on the patio. Tim and Lisa promise Alpine Inn’s fried chicken is worth the wait. If you go, snag seats by the large windows for the “big dinner show.” Alpine Inn, 10405 Calhoun Road

2. College World Series at Ameritrade Park

It’s been a few years now that Ameritrade Park became the new home of the NCAA College World Series. Maybe I ought to see a game there? Technically, I have been to the park, at least. I’ve been to Fan Fest. Should I count that? Should I say I’ve checked 76 things off the list? Ameritrade Park, 1200 Mike Fahey St.

3. Microbreweries

Omaha’s craft brewery scene is growing, and I can’t keep up. I can only check off half the list in the book¬†“100 Things To Do In Omaha Before You Die.” Here are the breweries I have yet to visit: Lucky Bucket Brewery, 11941 Centennial Road, La Vista, Neb.; Farnam House Brewing Co., 3558 Farnam St.; Brickway Brewing & Distillery, 1116 Jackson St.; Kros Strain Brewery, 10411 Portal Road, suite 102, La Vista, Neb.; Scriptown Brewing Co., 3922 Farnam St.

4. Bryson’s Airboat Tours

Though technically not an Omaha thing, these boat tours on the Platte River are close enough. If you’re not from around here, you might be surprised to know the Platte River in Nebraska is pretty shallow – like inches deep. So it makes sense that airboats are about the only way to really cruise the river. Bryson’s Airboat Tours, 879 Co. Road 19, Fremont, Neb.

5. Florence Bank and Florence Mill

Florence is one of those historic neighborhoods of Omaha that I haven’t explore much of. Two museums included in the Florence section are on my list to visit: Historic Florence Bank and Florence Mill. Find them at 8502 N. 30th St. and 9102 N. 30th St.

6. Film Streams at Dundee Theater

Here’s another one where I can say I could check it off the list, as I’ve been to Dundee Theater back in the day (anyone remember Midnight Movies?). But, I haven’t revisited it since it’s been renovated by the nonprofit Film Streams. The plan is to have a meal at Kitchen Table first and then see a movie. Film Streams at Dundee Theater, 4952 Dodge St.

7. Diventures

I haven’t been to Diventures, but mainly because I’ve never had a good reason to. I don’t plan trips that off good scuba diving opportunities, so I haven’t had a reason to learn it. Yet. Side note for those with kids: They also offer mermaid and shark classes with fin bodysuits. Or forget the kids, maybe you want to learn to be mermaid? Diventures, 4303 W. 121st Plaza

8. Horsemen’s Park

One obvious reason that I haven’t been to Horsemen’s Park is that I don’t know a thing about horse racing. But, I’ve heard on the few nights a year that they have live horse racing, it’s quite a party at Horsemen’s Park. Maybe I should once just for the experience? The 2018 live racing schedule is:¬†May 12 (Opening Day),¬†May 18 & 19 (Preakness),¬†May 26 & 27¬†(Family Day), June 1 & 2, and June 8 &¬†9 (Belmont). Horsemen’s Park,¬†6303 Q St.

9. General Crook House Museum

Here’s a landmark I have yet to truly explore. Built in 1879, it’s been lovingly restored and is now on National Register of Historic Places. I was thinking I’d time it with a special event, or when it’s decorated for the holidays in November and December…but then I discovered they offer¬†Afternoon Tea¬†events there. I think I need to round up a group for that. General Crook House Museum, 5730 N. 30th St., Building 11B

10. Alpacas of the Heartland

My kids can say they’ve been to the Alpacas of the Heartland farm during the annual open house, but I can’t. The pictures are stinking cute though. Who can resist alpacas? Incidentally, I just stumbled across an event coming up: Yoga Humm – Yoga in the Fields With the Alpacas on April 28. I think I know when I’ll be going there. Alpacas of the Heartland,¬†7016 County Road 39, Fort Calhoun, Neb.

 

If you’ve bought the book, I’m curious to know how many you’ve checked off. Leave a comment!

 

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