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September 21, 2016

Can A Preschooler Learn Jazz?

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Omaha Performing Arts. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own and based on my family’s experience at WeBop. 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.

webop-title

 

I’ll be honest with you, I loved the premise of WeBop when I first heard it, but was a little skeptical about just how much learning a preschool jazz class could entail.

I got my answer after the first session.

We got home and my daughter insisted she needed to perform a concert before bedtime. She recruited her big brother to play percussion on a pail.

I had to pick a song from WeBop: A Family Jazz Party for them to play along to. Loudly.

Thanks a lot, WeBop.

My kid digs jazz.

And apparently, she has band leader potential.

 

What is WeBop?

Our late afternoon WeBop class starts off with playing along with a song using various musical instruments and call-and-response.

It turns out, my preschooler wasn’t the only kid in Omaha making music. Other classmates from her WeBop class have been composing – as only 3- to 5-year-olds could – their own music about playdates and dinosaurs.

Omaha Performing Arts brought WeBop, a preschool program created by Jazz at Lincoln Center, to Omaha this year. This fall is the first session. Parents attend and participate with their 3- to 5-year-old, learning about jazz through songs, dance, books and play. I go into detail about it in this post

We sing and dance a lot in class.

Since improvisation is a cornerstone of jazz, WeBop introduces in it to preschoolers in a fun way - like making sounds and pretending to be an airplane. My son took this picture - you can see me in the background with very weak wings.

Since improvisation is a cornerstone of jazz, WeBop introduces it to preschoolers in a fun way – like making sounds and pretending to be an airplane. My son took this picture – you can see me in the background looking like an angry airplane with weak wings.

It’s a pretty cool experience partly due to the teacher, Susie, who happens to be a well-known jazz vocalist in Omaha (check out her allmusic.com page!). Accompanying her is Matt, a talented pianist. I’m sure he’s probably got an allmusic.com page too.

Anyway. Susie sings, Matt plays, and we sing or play along too. The drums are a big hit every time they’re brought out in class.

Each class so far has had a few minutes of drumming. Children may practice playing solo, improvising or copying what their teacher, Susie, plays.

Each class so far has had a few minutes of drumming. Children may practice playing solo, improvising or copying what their teacher, Susie, plays.

 

My daughter loves all of it. I mean, LOVES it.* 

She bows after each song in class, people.

It’s like she discovered the lure of the spotlight already.

* The class is 45 minutes long, so toward the end of it, her love starts dissolving into a puddle.

 

Keep the learning going at home

At our first class, parents were given a packet that included the curriculum for each week. In it, we were able to see which songs we heard in class, which book was read, and we were reminded which topic we covered (Week #1 – Swing, for instance). It also gave us tips to bring each lesson home.

Here are a sample of my daughter’s favorites:

1. Listen to jazz recordings and let your body swing to beats 2 and 4.

2. Sing a favorite book in a blues style.

3. Create a musical story using different sounds you find in your surrounds. (I call this, “bang on everything as you walk by.”)

 

Want to WeBop?

WeBop preschool music class in OMaha

The fall session is in full swing. See what I did there?

You can get class details here; I recommend starting from the beginning so your child gets the most out of WeBop. I’ll let you know when they announce the next session.

September 1, 2016

WeBop, A Preschool Music Program, Comes To Omaha

There’s no secret I love all the arts and entertainment offerings in Omaha. There are so many opportunities to see great performances at world-class venues.

One of the newest arts offerings in Omaha is for the youngest kiddos out there: WeBop. When I was working at Omaha Performing Arts, I had heard about this phenomenal preschool program developed by Jazz at Lincoln Center. The word was it was coming to Omaha. And now it’s here!

WeBop preschool music class in OMaha

OPA invited me to attend this program with my preschooler to tell you about it. How could I resist? This program introduces 3- to 5-year-olds to core concepts of jazz through movement, songs, storytelling and play. The fun part about these 45-minute sessions is that a parent or guardian has to attend too – so I’ll be learning right alongside my daughter.

Stay tuned as I share photos and details about our experience in the upcoming weeks! This will be a great opportunity for both of us as music lovers, so I appreciate the complimentary registration in exchange for you all about the program.

When does WeBop start?

Omaha Performing Arts starts WeBop classes next week, so if you’re interested in enrolling your little one, don’t wait! There are three session times to choose from: Tuesdays from 6 to 6:45 p.m.; Saturdays from 9 to 9:45 a.m.; and Saturdays from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m. The program runs for eight weeks and costs $200 per child (it can include up to two adults). There is a 10% discount for the second child. Sessions are from Sept. 6 through Oct. 29 at the Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St.

 

If you go

WeBop

Where: Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St.

When: Sept. 6 through Oct 29; three session times to choose from (Tuesdays from 6 to 6:45 p.m.; Saturdays from 9 to 9:45 a.m.; and Saturdays from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m.)

Cost: $200; register online at TicketOmaha.com 

April 15, 2015

Golden Dragon Acrobats In Omaha + Discount Code

One cool thing about parenting is seeing things through the eyes of a child. What’s old becomes new and amazing.

When we took the kids to see Tao: Phoenix Rising last year, I could see their little minds explode. So much was new to them: The music with its intense drumming, the beautiful dances unlike anything they’ve seen in their young lives. It left an impression.

Mr. Wonderful with my kids the night we went to see Tao: Phoenix Rising. It was a late show but the kids were (mostly) well behaved!

Mr. Wonderful with my kids the night we went to see Tao: Phoenix Rising. It was a late show but the kids were (mostly) well behaved!

So, I’m pretty stoked about taking the kids to see Golden Dragon Acrobats. Omaha Performing Arts invited a few bloggers to attend the show and I totally had to include myself (disclosure: I work for Omaha Performing Arts). I’ve been waiting for this show because I just knew my kids would love it.

 

The show is a presentation of centuries-old Chinese acrobatics – which even the most jaded seen-it-all person will be amazed by (in my opinion).

How could a kid not be impressed by Golden Dragon Acrobats?! I mean, I am.

How could a kid not be impressed by Golden Dragon Acrobats?! I mean, I am.

Maybe there’s someone out there who doesn’t think this is impressive.

Someone who doesn’t think juggling umbrellas and using ladders as a prop is no big deal. Whatever.

Just juggling soccer balls while lying on someone's legs. No big whoop.

Just juggling volleyballs while lying on someone’s legs. No big whoop.

For the rest of us, Golden Dragon Acrobats will be in Omaha Wednesday, April 29, at 7 p.m. at the Orpheum Theater. Tickets start at $15.

 

If you go

Omaha Performing Arts presents Golden Dragon Acrobats

When: Wednesday, April 29, at 7 p.m. (yeah, yeah, it’s a school night – there’s a 15-minute intermission and it should be done by 9)

Where: Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St.

Tickets start at $15, and are available at TicketOmaha.com, 402.345.0606 or at the Ticket Omaha Office inside the Holland Center, 1200 Douglas St.

Discount alert:

Save $5 off tickets with the promo code: DRAGON. It’s good on all price levels!

 

 

May 6, 2014

3 Games For Toddlers & Preschoolers

Mooch and the

Mooch and the Roll and Play game.

I didn’t think my toddler was patient enough for games until she refused to hand over her big brother’s Sneaky Squirrel game. Point taken, Mooch. There are games even toddlers love.

If you’re looking for games that interest the 2- to 4-year-old crowd, let me suggest a few that are hits at our house:

The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game

Mooch had a slight obsession with this Sneaky Squirrel game for most of the winter.

Mooch had a slight obsession with this Sneaky Squirrel game for most of the winter.

Game basics: The object is to collect an acorn in each color. Spin the spinner to see how many you can pick up in your turn. On the spinner is also a chance to steal an acorn, miss a turn, or lose all of your acorns.

This is a pretty easy game for kids that help with color recognition, counting and gross motor skills. It’s my toddler’s favorite, which drives me nuts because of the small acorns I don’t trust her with. However, we’ll play it with her and keep it out of reach when not in use. This game is suggested for 3 and older because of small parts.

Roll and Play Board Game

Game basics: Roll the cube and whatever color is on top when it lands is the color of card you pick up. There are six categories of cards – emotions, body parts, animals sounds, counting, colors and actions.

This one’s great for toddlers and preschoolers. It helps with color recognition, gross motor skills, creativity and is an active game. Our whole family can play this one together. It’s recommended for ages 18 months and older.

Zingo

Zingo is a family-friendly game, but as you can see, those pieces are little so keep a close eye on them.

Zingo is a jazzed-up bingo game.

Game basics: It’s like bingo, but with images on the tiles instead of numbers. There’s a nifty little red Zinger that you use to reveal two tiles, and everyone scrambles to match the tiles with images on their cards. Sliding the Zinger is a great catalyst for fights in our family, FYI.

The game is recommended for 4- to 8-year-olds but my 2-year-old loves it. It’s not recommended for those 3 and younger, though, given the small parts. It teaches concentration, image and vocabulary recognition, matching, memory and social interaction.


Your turn: What are your young kids’ favorite games?

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking one of the links, bloggers like me receive a very small referral payment. By purchasing through the links, you help support bloggers like me.

January 29, 2018

Best Donuts In Omaha

Update: July 16, 2018

Pettit’s Pastry has always been my family’s go to for donuts in Omaha. However, I haven’t tried every donut shop in Omaha (#lifegoals), so I can’t say they’re the best donuts in Omaha. But, I’ve done something far better for my waistline: Polled Facebook. I asked about 10,000 Oh My! Omaha followers* to share their favorites and we have a pretty clear consensus of favorites, plus a ton of highly recommended runners-up.

Where to find good donuts in Omaha - Best local donuts in Omaha, Nebraska #doughnuts #breakfast

Here are readers’ top 3:

Omaha’s Favorite Donuts

It turns out Pettit’s isn’t the No. 1 donut shop in Omaha for everyone, but it’s ranked up there. I have two I have to visit now to compare.

1. Olsen’s Bake Shop ran away with the votes, beating out No. 2 by more than double the votes. It’s family-run and a bit old school, and if you’re dying for a kolach, you can find it here. You’ll find this gem off-the-beaten path a few blocks south of the Old Market at 1708 S. 10th St.

2. Bob’s Donuts is new in town, but already a favorite for many. Think artisan donuts that are darn Instagrammable. Find it in the trendy neighborhood, Blackstone District at 3824 Farnam St., Suite 122. Incidentally, you can also get chicken here.

3. Pettit’s Pastry, my old-school favorite, came in third. The family-owned business has been open since 1954. It also happens to be pretty conveniently located near the route of a lot of parades, making it a great go-to stop before or after parades like the Septemberfest Parade. The original, downtown spot, is at 502 N. 16th St., and you can find a second location in West Omaha at 12039 Blondo St.

Best Donuts Not At Donut Shops

OK, so I’ve said Pettit’s a million times now. Let me share a few other gems worth seeking out:

– The freshly-made apple cider donuts at Ditmars Orchard & Vineyard in Council Bluffs, Iowa, is just about my favorite thing of fall. You can find six packs of the donuts in local grocery stores but they can’t compare to tasting one while it’s still warm at the orchard. Ditmars is at 19475 225th St., Council Bluffs, Iowa. Learn more about the orchard here.

– A surprise donut favorite is Harold’s Koffee House. I’d first heard about this Florence restaurant from a reader who suggested it be included in the best places to get breakfast in Omaha list. She specifically mentioned the donut. So I had to go and try it myself. The homemade donut was so good, I can’t remember what else I had ordered. Head to North Omaha for this diner at 8327 N. 30th St.

Where the locals go for donuts in Omaha #Nebraska

More Donuts

Here’s a full list of everyone’s recommendations for best donuts:

Sweet Magnolias Bake Shop, 813 N. 40th St.

The Uptown Bakery, 2229 Thurston Circle, Bellevue, Neb.

Donut Haven, 13807 P St.

Mad Ox Bakery, 215 W. Broadway, Council Bluffs, Iowa

Sunrize Donuts, 17676 Welch Plaza, Suite 7

Gerda’s German Restaurant & Bakery, 5180 Leavenworth St.

Hello Sugar, find out which event you’ll find these donuts at here

Culprit Cafe, 1603 Farnam St., Suite 101

Jones Bros. Cupcakes, 2121 S. 67th St., 2615 S. 180th St., and inside Westroads Mall. Looking for cronuts? Jones Bros. apparently makes them.

And some franchises that got some recommendations include: Winchell’s, LaMar’s and Donut Professor. I should also point out, if you’re feeling incredibly indulgent, you can have a glazed donut grilled cheese sandwich at Tom + Chee. Sorry, Winchell’s Tom + Chee has closed.

* To see the original post requesting favorites, visit Oh My! Omaha’s Facebook page. The list was narrowed down by poll in the Facebook Group Things To Do In Omaha & Beyond (request to join here).

Got a favorite to add? Leave a comment about it!

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January 11, 2018

Must-Try Restaurants In Omaha

Updated Sept. 19, 2018 to include the winner of The Great Pizza Tournament

Omaha is a city that loves food. There are a lot of great, locally-owned restaurants producing creative dishes. If you’re short on time and wondering what the must-try restaurants in Omaha are, you’re in luck. I’ve already sought out the answer.

Oh My! Omaha Facebook page followers are pretty opinionated about food and loyal to local restaurants. So, I decided to find out what everyone’s must-try restaurant is in Omaha. See the original post here!

Want to try the best food in Omaha? Go where the locals eat! Here's a list of top recommended restaurants in Omaha, Nebraska.

A lot of people had strong opinions, and there was a huge variety. I’ve picked my Top 10 out of the recommendations:

Block 16

1611 Farnam St.

Our Next Adventure recommends the block burger and duck duck goose fries

There’s a reason why there’s nearly always a line at Block 16. It’s that good. I’m partial to the Croque Carcon burger, and not just because Alton Brown deemed it one of the best in the world (though, I do feel like his opinion means something).

Dante Pizzeria Napoletana

16901 Wright Plaza, suite 173

“I have a lifelong love of Italy and a meal at Dante really does feel like a meal in Campagna. The pizza is amazing, of course, but what I love even better are Chef Nick Strawhecker’s inventive entrées. Nearly all the food is locally produced, but with authentic Italian preparation, the wine all comes from sustainable vineyards and the service is top-tier. I bring everyone who visits me in Omaha to Dante and they all love it as much as I do.” Jenna G., who wrote about the restaurant on her blog, The Beaspora

Jenna says it much more eloquently than I can, but I concur with her. Dante’s is the real deal.

Update: Dante now has a fast casual restaurant in the Blackstone District you should check out.

The Grey Plume

220 S. 31st Ave., suite 3101

“I always recommend The Grey Plume.” Rebecca H.

“Be sure to order the duck fat fries for an appetizer!” – Patty N.

The Grey Plume has one of the most celebrated chefs in Omaha. Dining there is an experience. This one’s better without the kids, FYI.

The Kitchen Table

1415 Farnam St. and 4952 Dodge St.

Recommended by Lindsay W.

This hip farm-to-table restaurant just opened its second location in Omaha. The downtown location is so Instagrammable, and I bet its new location in Dundee is as well.

La Casa Pizzaria

4432 Leavenworth St.

“For pizza, La Casa.” – Marlys N.

Marlys and I have similar tastes, apparently. La Casa is my all-time favorite pizza in Omaha. The crust. The crust is unforgettable. It’s thin, for sure, so if you don’t like that kind of pizza…you’re out of luck. Look at this list for other great pizza joints in Omaha.

Lo Sole Mio Ristorante

3001 S 32nd Ave.

Recommended by Christina S. and Brian A.

Come hungry. The portions are huge at this wonderful Italian restaurant. My family has been going here for years.

Mangia Italiana

6516 Irvington Road

This summer, I held a months-long March Madness-style tournament to figure out the best pizzeria in the Omaha metro area. The winner? Mangia. Mangia Italiana beat out 31 other pizzerias to be named the best. See the brackets and who won each round in this post.

Modern Love

New location: 3157 Farnam St., Suite 7113

Suggested by Jennifer K.

Omaha has become known for its steaks, but we do venture away from meat from time to time. Modern Love is a vegan restaurant that is top notch, and will impress even the biggest meat eater in your group. It’s seasonally-based, so I’m not sure which dish to recommend (I was impressed with the mac and cheese).

M’s Pub

422 S. 11th St.

Becky W. suggested trying the Thai lavosh, lamb burger or the brie en croute. Also recommended by Diane T. and So Yun G.

M’s Pub is the Old Market darling that suffered a terrible fire, was closed for ages, and is now back open and, from the reviews, as good as ever. I haven’t been back since the fire, but it was a gem before it, so I trust the reviews.

Ted & Wally’s

1120 Jackson St. and 6023 Maple St.

“…save room for Ted & Wally’s!” – Ticha R.

I’ve tried them all and Ted & Wally’s remains my favorite ice cream shop in Omaha. A little tip: The Benson location never has a line quite like the Old Market location. If you’re impatient, head to Maple Street.

V. Mertz

1022 Howard St.

“We are there a couple times a month and love the seasonal menus. Enjoying the tasting menu each time it changes is a must.” – Dana Z. from momsgoodeats.com

Be sure to download the app Together A Great Good so you can do good while dining out! Some of these restaurants will donate a percentage of your bill to the charity of your choice. Restaurants on this page that contribute (as of January 11, 2018) include: Au Courant, Block 16, Hiro 88, J. Coco, Railcar Modern American Kitchen, and V. Mertz.

Here are the other must-try restaurants of Omaha

Anthony’s Steakhouse

7220 F St.

Recommended by Kathy B.

There are a couple old school Omaha steakhouses on this list, and Anthony’s may be the most recognizable on the exterior because of the giant steer on the rooftop. I’ll be honest, it’s not my favorite of the old school steakhouses, but it’s been around for decades, and it has its fans.

beef Omaha

Au Courant Regional Kitchen

6064 Maple St.

Recommended by Jordan B. and Adam P.

Au Courant has been on my to-visit list for months and months. I’ve heard rave reviews about this Benson restaurant and I’m determined to visit this year.

Brother Sebastian’s Steak House & Winery

1350 S. 119th St.

Recommended by Steven W.

This is another great old school restaurant in Omaha, though unlike the others on this list, I can say I’ve been here. It looks and feels like a monastery inside, and the wine list is superb. It’s a memorable restaurant to celebrate a special occasion.

Cascio’s Steakhouse

1620 S. 10th St.

“Cascio’s, for one of the last remaining ‘Omaha Italian Steakhouse’ experiences.” – Mark W.

I’ve been on a kick visiting some of Omaha’s oldest restaurants, and Cascio’s is on my list to visit. I’ll be honest with you all, I have not had the best experiences at our venerable Italian steakhouses, but they are still running for a reason.

Cilantros Mexican Bar & Grill

14440 F St. and 640 N. 114th St.

“Cilantro’s – specifically the tomatillo cream sauce chicken enchiladas.” – Abby K.

Cilantros surprised me – I thought it was chain, but it’s not. It’s just more polished than your average local joint. Anyway, I’ve been there. The food is better than average.

Crane’s Coffee

5 locations

“Warm up with the “sugar & spice” latte at Crane.” – Ticha R.

Crane’s is a family favorite and locally-run coffee shop without much of the hipster vibe you may encounter at some places (and I like those places – they have great coffee – I just could deal with less of everything else). I like the chai lattes, my husband gets the Crane Special, and the kids always ask for a chocolate chunk scone.

Dinker’s Bar & Grill

2368 S. 29th St.

“Dinker’s is the best!” – Katie T.

I’ve visited my share of burger places around Omaha to figure out who has the best. I haven’t settled on a verdict, yet, but Dinker’s is right up there. It’s a bit of a hole in the wall, but don’t be scared off by the exterior. It’s popular, been around for more than 50 years, and will likely to be very busy when you go.

The Drover Restaurant & Lounge

2121 S. 73rd St.

Recommended by Taylor S.

The Drover is another classic Omaha steakhouse that I have yet to visit. It’s on my list (and actually, at the top of my list). Please note: The restaurant is temporarily closed due to a fire.

For reviews of Omaha’s oldest restaurants, check out the Old School Omaha Series.

Early Bird

3824 Farnam St., suite 121

“For brunch – Early Bird brunch! Soooo gooood and different!” – Kaila W.

Early Bird is one of the newest restaurants to open in the trendy Blackstone District. I haven’t been, but I’ve had more than one friend tell me that I need to go (they all know I love breakfast).

FarmHouse Cafe & Bakery

3461 84th St.

Recommended by Mary D.

My extended family loves Farmhouse Cafe, and I have to agree, it’s pretty tasty. Be sure to order a cinnamon roll… and be ready to share.

Golden Bowl Chinese Restaurant

513 Fort Crook Road N, Bellevue, Neb,

Recommended by Nichole M.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t been to this Chinese restaurant. However, I have a foodie friend, Danell, and he is always eating there (here’s his review), so I’ve got to assume it’s pretty good.

Hiro 88

3 locations

Recommended by Sarah G.

Hiro 88 doesn’t disappoint with its sushi. Time it to coincide with Happy Hour, and you’ll have a happier wallet, too.

Ika Ramen and Izakaya

6109 Maple St.

Recommended by Katrina L.

This is a newer dining spot in Benson that I haven’t made it to yet, but I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.

J. Coco

5203 Leavenworth St.

Recommended by Allyson H.

I ventured to J.Coco during Restaurant Week one year and enjoyed the dinner tremendously. This is a good date night spot.

Netties Fine Mexican Food

7110 Railroad Ave., Bellevue, Neb.

Recommended by Marcy S.

I’m not too familiar with Nettie’s but word on the street, it’s great Mexican food in Bellevue.

Nicola’s Italian Wine & Fare

521 S. 13th St.

Recommended by Carrie M.

I’m pretty partial to this tiny Italian restaurant on the edge of the Old Market. The food is so fresh and so good. Reservations are a must, and if the weather is nice, sit out on the patio.

Railcar Modern American Kitchen

1814 N. 144th St.

Recommended by Lauri  C.

This was a nice date night for me and Mr. Wonderful a few years ago. I wish I had a better memory to tell you what order.

Runza

Various locations

Recommended by Mallory B.

Though technically a chain fast food restaurant, Runza has its roots here in Nebraska. Go here to try the Runza sandwich. You won’t find it anywhere else in the world.

Stokes Old Market

1122 Howard St. and 13615 California St.

Recommended by Kristi M.

Stokes (the Old Market location on Howard Street) is pretty great. Try Sharon’s enchiladas if you go. Delish!

Your turn! What’s the one restaurant in Omaha that you think every visitor should go to?

 

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