December 20, 2017

Staying Near Country Club Plaza in KC

One of the most-visited areas in Kansas City is the beautiful Country Club Plaza. There are few trips we make to KC that don’t involve a stop there.

Until recently, we’ve never stayed near there, though. If you’re looking for a hotel near Country Club Plaza, here’s what we found at Holiday Inn Country Club Plaza. It’s within walking distance to great shops and a ton of restaurants. Disclosure: Our stay was complimentary for this review.

Holiday Inn Amenities

We were in Kansas City for a quick holiday getaway, and we wanted to stay somewhere near some of our key activities like ice skating at Crown Center, playing at LEGOLAND Discovery Center and Science City, and hopefully, getting some shopping done. So, we opted for a hotel near the Country Club Plaza. It was nowhere near our third destination of the trip (Worlds of Fun).

The lobby at the Holiday Inn in Kansas City was welcoming. You can’t see it, but off to the side was a Christmas tree for the season.

Traveling to big cities, parking can be costly. A great perk at Holiday Inn near Country Club Plaza is the complimentary self-parking. Having it underground is a bonus, especially in the winter.

My family includes two young kids so one big thing is a requirement for hotels: A pool. This Holiday Inn has one, but alas, it’s outdoors and open seasonally. To keep the kids occupied, you could check out an Xbox Connect or board games.

There’s actually a year-round outdoor pool in Kansas City, and I highly recommend it for families (read about it in the Sheraton Hotel review here). It’s not within walking distance of the Plaza, though.

Another nice amenity is the free wi-fi access at the hotel.

Holiday Inn Rooms

The Holiday Inn near the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City had really comfy beds that were perfect to fall into after a busy day.

You can bet after a day of ice skating and strolling around Worlds of Fun’s WinterFest, the family was beyond tired. Our room at two double beds with the coziest pillows ever. The blackout curtains insured the kids slept in for as long as they needed.

Our room overlooked the pool courtyard, which I imagine would be nice other times of year. During the winter, there isn’t much to see.

Free Dining

I didn’t get a chance to dine at the Holiday Inn’s restaurant, but for families on a budget, here’s the deal: Up to four kids ages 11 and under eat free any time of the day in any Holiday Inn® on-site restaurant.

Walk to the Country Club Plaza

The Country Club Plaza in Kansas City is stunning any time of year. The architecture is beautiful. However, around the holidays, the KCP&L Plaza Lights at night add an extra “aww” factor to your visit. The Plaza Lights run Thanksgiving through Jan. 14 from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. daily.

It doesn’t get much more Christmas-y than this photo of the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City. Photo courtesy Visit KC

There are several other events at the Plaza besides the Plaza Lights. You can get event details here.

One more tip: If you’re looking for a great breakfast choice, eggtc. is a KC staple with a location less than a mile from the Holiday Inn. It’s very family-friendly, but you want to get there early to beat the local rush.

 

If you go

Holiday Inn Country Club Plaza

Where:

Book a stay!

 

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Want more KC family vacation ideas?

Our WinterFest visit was part of a 24-hour trip to Kansas City, packed with a ton of fun, great food, and beautiful sights. Be sure to read all about our adventures:

24 Hours In Kansas City With Kids

Tips For WinterFest At Worlds Of Fun

5 Things To Know About LEGOLAND Discovery Center

Kid-Friendly Indoor Activities For KC Winter Getaways – Jan. 11

 

Looking for more things to do during the holidays? Here’s a post with 15+ fun things to do in Kansas during the holidays and a KC Holidays Bucket List.

If you have a little more time for your visit, check out fun things to do in the winter with kids in Kansas City or see what family-friendly activities are near Worlds of Fun.

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February 15, 2017

Odd Squad Live! Coloring Contest

I love the Omaha Performing Arts’ Family Series. Doesn’t matter if I’ve never heard of the performer or show, if it’s in that series, I know my kids will love it.

The final show in the 16-17 Family Series is “Odd Squad LIVE!”, which some of you are probably familiar with if your family is a PBS kind of family.

In advance of the March 2 “Odd Squad LIVE!” show at the Orpheum Theater, Omaha Performing Arts is offering a fun way for kids to win tickets: A coloring contest.

How to enter the coloring contest

1. Download this coloring page.

2. How your kiddo color it.

3. Enter the contest by snapping a picture and tagging Omaha Performing Arts on social media (@OPerformingArts on Twitter, @OmahaPerformingArtsOrg on Facebook, and @operformingarts on Instagram) – don’t forget to use #OddSquadColoringContest. Your other option to enter is to scan your child’s masterpiece and email it to socialmedia@omahaperformingarts.org.

4. Winners will be chosen on Feb. 24. Two winners will a 4-pack of tickets to the show!

 

What is Odd Squad LIVE!?

Here’s the synopsis: Attention Odd Squad fans! Things are about to get very odd in Omaha, and Ms. O needs YOU to help solve the case. Odd Squad LIVE! is springing into action on stage in this action-packed, laugh-out-loud adventure where kids get to participate in solving a seriously strange case. When agents Orion and Oleanna get turned into grown-ups by villains, it’s up to the kids in the audience to use their math skills and help the agents decode, decipher and unravel clues.

“Odd Squad LIVE!” is filled with the coolest new gadgets, funniest and quirkiest villains  like “Father Time” and “Lady Terrible,” and catchy hit songs from the Odd Squad-favorite band, Soundcheck. The side-splitting humor and oddly irresistible fun that earned the “Odd Squad” writing team a 2016 Daytime Emmy Award for “Outstanding Writing in a Children’s Series” will burst onto the stage in this wonderfully weird, hilarious and interactive live show that is not to be missed!

If you go

“Odd Squad LIVE!” is in Omaha March 2, 2017. Photo courtesy Omaha Performing Arts

“Odd Squad LIVE!”

When: March 2, 7 p.m.

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

Cost: $15-$50

Get tickets here

 

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. Since you’ve stuck around all the way to the end of the post, I’ll let you in on the surprise: I’ll be giving away tickets to the show soon. Stay tuned! 🙂 

December 15, 2016

3 Fun Things To Do Dec. 16-18

This time of year is so busy, with so many great events planned just for families. Check out my huge list of fun things to do all month long here.

From that list, I picked three fun things to do this weekend with the kiddos. You can make FREE gingerbread houses, you can splash around the pool with inflatables, or take in a charming Christmas play.

 

Inflatable Fridays

Inflatable Fridays at the Kroc Center. Photo courtesy Salvation Army Kroc Center

Inflatable Fridays at the Kroc Center. Photo courtesy Salvation Army Kroc Center

When: Friday, 4 to 7:30 p.m.

Where: The Salvation Army Kroc Center, 2825 Y St.

Why: Your kids have so much energy being cooped up indoors, you need to take them somewhere to work it all out.

Who’d like it: Active families; kids of all ages; water babies

 

 

Get Crafty: Gingerbread Houses

omaha-public-library-logo

When: Saturday, 10 to 11:30 a.m. (South Omaha), 1 to 2:30 p.m. (Main, kids), 3 to 4:30 p.m. (Main, teens)

Where: Omaha Public Library South Omaha branch and W. Dale Clark Main Library

Why: FREE holiday craft activity? Sign us up! (I recommend you pre-register, though)

Who’d like it: Families on a budget; preschoolers and older; those with a sweet tooth

 

“Prancer”

Chloe Irwin and puppeteer Shannon Wade in "Prancer," on stage at The Rose through Dec. 23. Photo courtesy MJB Photography

Chloe Irwin and puppeteer Shannon Wade in “Prancer,” on stage at The Rose through Dec. 18. Photo courtesy MJB Photography

When: Friday at 7 p.m., and Saturday & Sunday at 2 p.m. (final weekend!)

Where: Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam St.

Why: You remember the movie growing up, right? Now it’s time to share the magic of one special reindeer with your kids. Plus, there is some real theater magic going on in the show.

Who’d like it: Kids ages 7 and older; theater geeks

Read the review

 

Want Christmas-y events? Find all that you could ever need at Family Fun in Omaha – she’s got you covered!

 

Don’t miss out on any fun!

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October 11, 2016

Omaha Neighborhood Favorites

Whether you’re visiting or lived here for 20 years, there’s a good chance you don’t know about a few of our hidden gems. I’m sharing some of my Omaha neighborhood favorites so that you can get out there and explore the city.

Kids will definitely like anything in blue lettering!

where-to-find-the-best-pizza-in-omaha

Downtown

Includes: Old Market, NoDo

Eat: Plank Seafood Provisions, Blatte Beer & Table (they even have a changing table in the bathroom), Wilson & Washburn, Ted & Wally’s

Drink: Upstream Brewing Co., La Buvette

Caffeinate: Bean Smith Coffee Roasters

Shop: City Limits, Jackson Street Booksellers, True Blue Goods & Gifts, Hollywood Candy

Do: See a show at Bluebarn Theatre or The Rose Theater, walk across The Bob, get creative at Art Works inside Joslyn Art Museum, see the train garden and children’s garden at Lauritzen Gardens 

Play: Try the big slides at Gene Leahy Mall, Omaha Children’s Museum

 

Benson

Where: West of downtown

Eat: España, Lot 2 Restaurant & Wine Bar, Ted & Wally’s/Localmotive (Localmotive just announced they would close by Oct. 15, 2016)

Do: See a concert at The Waiting Room

Drink: Krug Park, Benson Brewery, Infusion Brewery

Caffeinate: Aromas Benson

Play: Benson Park

 

Central Omaha

Includes: Midtown Crossing, Blackstone, Aksarben Village

Eat: Mula Mexican Kitchen & Tequileria, Crave (kids eat free on Sundays), The Grey Plume

Drink: Crescent Moon

CaffeinateCrane Coffee, Caffeine Dreams (don’t miss the patio in back)

Shop: The Afternoon

Do: Attend a free movie screen or outdoor concert in the summer like Jazz on the Green at Midtown Crossing

Play: Aksarben Village’s Stinson Park

 

Dundee

Where: West of downtown

Eat: Marks Bistro (grab a table on their patio), eCreamery, Dundee Dell, Dario’s Brasserie, Great Harvest Bread Co. (get a free slice of bread!)

Do: See a show at Omaha Community Playhouse

Shop: Scout Dry Goods & Trade

Play: Memorial Park

 

South Omaha

Where: South of downtown

Eat: Guaca Maya Mexican Restaurant, Jacobo Grocery, Bakery & Tortilleria (you’re going to want to get the fresh chips and salsa from their deli), Lo Sole Mio

Do: Stroll Historic South 24 Street, visit El Museo Latino

Play: Kroc Center Omaha Family Recreation Pool

 

Northwest Omaha

Eat: Salt 88, Flagship Commons

Do: Visit Heron Haven, try standup paddleboarding at Cunningham Lake

 

West Omaha

Eat: Over Easy, Shucks Fish House and Oyster Bar, Twisted Cork Bistro

Do: Ride the ferris wheel inside Scheels, visit Boys Town 

Shop: Fat Brain Toys

Play: Lake Zorinski, Amazing Pizza Machine, Dave and Buster’s

 

This post was inspired by a recent Kansas City trip I was planning. I’d stumbled across this post and thought I could do something similar for Omaha.

 

Your turn: What are your favorites around the city? Please leave a comment and let me know!

October 3, 2016

Nebraska Bloggers Series – Hannah Christensen

I’ve had a lot of fun learning about fellow Omaha bloggers, so I thought it’d be interesting to expand that circle and tell you about some Nebraska bloggers. Today is the first installment of this occasional series!

Lovely Little Lives

 

Nebraska blogger at Lovely Little Lives

Name: Hannah Christensen

Blog: Lovely Little Lives

Find her on: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter 

Home base: Lincoln, Neb.

 

Describe your blog in five words. Motherhood, Loveliness, Family, Faith, Blessings

What are the two most popular posts on your blog? The most popular post is: “To My Little One” where I poured out my grief and my love into a letter the week after I lost my third child to an ectopic pregnancy. I think it resonates with readers because so many people have either lost a baby or experienced grief and because it is a completely raw and genuine letter where I spill my heart on the page.

to-my-little-one

The second most popular post is “One Boot Print at a Time” where I reflect on my younger brother’s wedding and the beautiful cycle of romance, marriage and children. The descriptive imagery and the heartfelt display of family emotions really come out in the post and I think that touches readers and perhaps reminds them of their own wedding or parental experiences.

What social media channel are you on the most and why? Instagram. I found it’s much easier to post little snippets of my story on there than to try to do multiple blog posts a week. I have daily moments of encouragement I share on Instagram and my Facebook page if you want to check that out.

encouraging-moments

You get one hour to spend on writing, where do you go? I love the new little coffee shop we have in Lincoln: Gianna’s Java and Gelato at 2241 O St. They have authentic Italian gelato and it is amazing!

If friends visit from out of town, what three places would you take them to? The Farmers Market on Saturday mornings in Lincoln’s Historic Haymarket.The brand new gorgeous Cathedral that was built for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln students. Any one of the three main college sport complexes for football, basketball and baseball but particularly Memorial Stadium, home of Nebraska Huskers Football. This link shows all the impressive Nebraska Lincoln complexes.

What’s your favorite free thing to do in your city? Visit the lovely Pioneers Park. We have spent memorable summer evenings there grilling out, playing on the playground and playing yard games with friends. There also is a beautiful wooded hiking trails, a great little nature center designed for kids and a children’s ABC garden.

 

More about Hannah

Hannah and her family

Hannah and her family

Hannah Christensen and her husband, David, have been married for five years and have two lively little girls. A stay-at-home mom and medical biller, Hannah loves morning coffee, scrap-booking, themed parties, date nights, play groups, mom friends, creative writing, Husker sports, and all things organized. She manages a personal blog where she explores the little lovely moments of everyday family life: lovelylittlelives.com.

Want to be a featured Nebraska blogger? Email me at ohmyomaha (at) gmail (dot) com to find out how!

September 12, 2016

5 Things To Think About Meal Delivery Services

I didn’t think I was the type of mom to consider using a meal delivery service. When I signed a book contract with The History Press this month – yay! – my already-miniscule free time disappeared, though.

It was fate of home-cooking gods that I was approached by Home Chef to write a sponsored post about their delivery service. I’m about to devote a ton of time to researching old restaurants of Omaha; if I want to keep eating most meals at home, a meal delivery service might be my answer.

Is A Meal Delivery Service Right For Your Family?

It’s not everyone’s answer, but Home Chef might work out for my family. Here’s what you need to consider to see if such a meal delivery service will work for you, too:

 

Home Chef Meal Deliver Service

1. How much of a control freak are you?

Food delivery services like Home Chef don’t give you the option of picking and choosing which entrees arrive. That was at tough pill for me to swallow because I plan a weekly menu and I like variety. With Home Chef, the meals I receive for the week depended on preferences I chose when I first set up my account.

Some people might prefer choosing exactly what they get, like a menu. Others like the surprise factor. Which are you?

2. How picky are you?

Home Chef lets you set dietary preferences for your account. You prefer vegetables to meat? Mark that down. You avoid dairy and gluten? Note that too. The more restrictions you put on your account, obviously, the narrower your choices become. I started out with several restrictions and had to add back in dairy in order to get a meal that worked. (It turned out to be the chicken with green peppercorn sauce – the dairy part – and it was divine).

My original taste profile excluded dairy, gluten and red meat. In order to get two meals to try my first week, I added back dairy and received a delivery of chicken with green peppercorn sauce, which contained heavy whipping cream. I'm totally happy with that result!

My original taste profile excluded dairy, gluten and red meat. In order to get two meals to try my first week, I added back dairy and received a delivery of chicken with green peppercorn sauce, which contained heavy whipping cream. I’m totally happy with that result!

You know what doesn’t matter? How picky your kids are.

They never eat any new food anyway, so don’t factor them into your decision making.

Darn picky kids and their eating habits.

Darn picky kids and their eating habits.

3. Do you want to spend your money for a restaurant meal or a home-cooked meal?

Here’s where price comes into play. Meal delivery services are not cheap. But, with sports and lessons and my million side projects I’m juggling, we were starting to rely on restaurants for nights we just couldn’t get home in time to cook a meal. And that’s not cheap either.

So, I’m seriously weighing options here. I love eating around our dinner table. And if it’s about the same price as a dinner out, why not go this route from time to time?

What you get with Home Chef is perfectly proportioned ingredients, many of them already chopped and ready to go. (But for those of you who like the chopping and prepping of ingredients, there are still a few fresh ingredients in each recipe you have to prep)

The portions of peppercorns, heavy whipping cream and cooking sherry I needed for a chicken dinner, all arriving ready to go.

The portions of peppercorns, heavy whipping cream and cooking sherry I needed for a chicken dinner, all arriving ready to go.

And FRESH ingredients. I received already-diced butternut squash for the caramel apple pork chops. I cannot even begin to describe how annoying it is to prepare butternut squash so I will gladly pay extra to have it arrive recipe-ready. Note: The apple for the recipe arrived whole – some perishables need to be prepared by the home cook.

4. How often do you need a little help with meals?

I’m able to plan fairly well and prepare some meals the weekend before the work week. And, I can rely on crockpot recipes for other nights. My downfall is Friday night, when I’m out of all fresh produce and just about everything else until my Saturday grocery trip.

Home Chef delivery requires you to pick your delivery day so – holla – Friday was my delivery date. I received an email letting me know things were on-schedule and when I came home from work Friday afternoon, my well-packed meal with ice packs was waiting for me.

How much do you think you want prepared meals will factor into how much a meal delivery service will cost you.

5. Are you interested in trying new foods?

So, I’m back to reminding you that you do not get to choose your entrees with Home Chef deliveries. Once I let go of my control-freak needs, this was kind of exciting. I regularly prepare new recipes, so I liked the surprise.

If you are a novice cook, it’s even better for you. Each meal comes with a very detailed, visual guide.

Each recipe comes with pictures, as well as a guide on what to prepare before you start.

Each recipe comes with pictures, as well as a guide on what ingredients to prepare before you start.

More about Home Chef

home-chef-logo

Home Chef was founded with a simple goal: to provide our customers with a delightful home cooking experience. Our founder, Pat Vihtelic, and his wife found it hard to make time to prepare home cooked dinners after work. Pat discovered that online grocery services only solved part of the problem — he still had to think about what was for dinner, and didn’t have time to comb the internet for recipes. More often than not, he was overwhelmed by the prospect of meal planning, and resorted to takeout.

Pat loves cooking. He loves hanging out in the kitchen with his family and unwinding from a long day by making a delicious meal. He knew there must be more people like him: people who are short on time, but value real home cooking and the joy that comes with it.

In 2013, Pat started Home Chef by partnering with a chef to design delicious, simple-to-prepare recipes. Since then, the team has grown to include several chefs, and more than 300 employees across production, marketing, technology, product, design, and customer service. Last year, they delivered over 1 million meals, and this year, they expanded their delivery to cover 90% of the U.S. – including Omaha.

Home Chef saves time, reduces food waste, and most importantly, brings people together around the dinner table.

Sign up for Home Chef

Ready to try a meal delivery service out? To get weekly meals delivered by Home Chef, sign up here.

 

Disclosure: I was compensated and provided complimentary meal delivery for this sponsored post by Home Chef. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.