March 23, 2017

Music & Movies in the Park Schedule for 2017

The Music & Movies in the Park Schedule for 2017 is here, and it is awesome! Mark your calendars and grab your lawn chairs for free music and movies at Bayliss Park this summer! From June 8th - August 4th you can enjoy:

  • Free Music at Bayliss Park on Thursdays at 6:30PM
  • Free Movies at Bayliss Park on Fridays after dusk, around 9PM

Music in the Park Schedule for 2017

June 9th Beauty and the Beast (2017)
June 16th: Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (2016)
June 23rd: Secret Life of Pets (2016)
June 30th: Trolls (2017)
July 7th: Sing (2016)
July 14th: Finding Dory (2016)
July 21st: Doctor Strange (2016)
July 28th: Jungle Book (2016)
August 4th: The Great Gilly Hopkins (2016)

Music in the Park Schedule for 2017

Coming May 2017

March 20, 2017

10 Epic Midwest Theme Parks to Experience

Spending the day at a theme park is a great way to spend a nice summer day. Theme parks are great because they tend to cater to all age groups so the whole family can go, you can go with some friends, or just you and your significant other if you choose. There are hundreds of theme parks spread all across the United States and quite a few can be found right here in the Midwest. Today I am going to be sharing with you just a few of the best theme parks in the Midwest, maybe you can take a huge road trip and see them all one day! 

Epic Midwest Theme Parks to Experience

10 Epic Midwest Theme Parks to Experience

1. Cedar Point - Sandusky, OH

Cedar Point is a part of the Cedar Fair Park company and can be found in Northern Ohio. Cedar Point is home to some of the most thrilling and exciting rides in the U.S. For example, the Top Thrill Dragster is a ride that reaches 120 mph, goes as high as 420 feet and is over in the matter of 17 seconds! It is quite an adrenaline rush and a definite must when visiting Cedar Point. 

2. Kings Island - Mason, OH

Kings Island is another park that is part of the Cedar Fair Park company. It is located in Mason, Ohio which is just about 20 minutes outside of Cincinnati. Kings Island is a great family friendly park being filled with kids rides as well as some pretty intense rides as well. One of their most famous rides is the Beast, which is the longest wooden roller coaster in the world and has been since 1979! It is a really fun ride and definitely something that the park is famous for. 

3. Dollywood - Pigeon Forge, TN

If you are looking for a great place to have a family vacation, Dollywood is the place to be. Pigeon Forge in general is a great location to visit for a nice family vacation and you can't miss out on visiting Dollywood while you're there. I love Dollywood because I feel like that it is a mix of carnival type feel and a theme park. You get rides that you will find at a carnival like the Dizzy Disk but you also get the theme park type rides like the Lightning Rod!

4. Six Flags Illinois Great America - Gurnee, Illinois

Six Flags has several locations all over the country but one that can be found in the Midwest is in Gurnee, Illinois which is about 40 miles outside of Chicago. At this particular location they have a lot of great rides and a lot of them are fun themed rides including Batman: The Ride, The Bedrock Boulder Roller, the Justice League: Battle for Metropolis, and Superman: Ultimate Flight. They have nearly 70 different rides and attractions so there is definitely something you will find that is a blast for you! 

5. Nickelodeon Universe - Bloomington, Minnesota

This one is another great one for the kiddos! Nickelodeon Universe is jam packed full of fun Nickelodeon themed rides. There is everything from Avatar, to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, even the Rugrats! I love that they incorporate everything from old school Nickelodeon characters up to the newer shows as well. This does seem to be more geared toward children because it is all based on Nickelodeon but the rides are just as fun for adults as well!

6. Holiday World - Santa Claus, IN

If you are someone that LOVES all of the holidays throughout the year, you will love Holiday World! This park is solely dedicated to all of the holidays and each section of the park is a different Holiday theme including Christmas, Halloween, 4th Of July, and Thanksgiving. They also have a water park attached known as Splashin' Safari. This place is so much fun and not as well known as some of the other parks listed so be sure to check it out if you visit the Indiana area!

7. Silver Dollar City - Branson, MO

Nestled in Branson, MO is Silver Dollar City with big thrills, family fun, and amazing craftsmanship. Reach 66mph on the WildFire, get soaks on Lost River of the Ozarks, and enjoy more than 30 other rides, as well as over 100 crafters selling goods. Not to mention the beautiful sites of Table Rock Lake near the theme park, making it a great place to plan a vacation.

8. Worlds of Fun/Oceans of Fun - Kansas City, MO

Enjoy two parks in the same place when you visit Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun in Kansas City! Towering swing ride, twisty coasters, water rides, themed areas, and Camp Snoop. So much in one place making it perfect for the family. This park is loosely based on Jules Verne's 'Around the World in 80 Days' but with two days you could easily enjoy both parks with the family. 

9. Adventureland - Altoona, IA

A theme park I've visited almost every summer of my life, Adventureland is just a short 2 hour drive from me. Growing and changing, Adventureland is home to more than 100 rides, shows, attractions, and Adventure Bay water park! Space Shot, The Dragon, and the Sky Ride that was purchased from the World'd Fair in 1975 - it's a neat relaxing ride across the top of the park, and gives you a chance to see all the stuffed animal prizes that have been dropped on top of the bumper car building. 

10. Arnolds Park - Arnold's Park, IA

This charming theme park is a family favorite in the Midwest. Arnolds Park sits on the waterfront of Lake Okoboji were you will find a ferris wheel with gorgeous views, the Legend Roller Coaster that has been riding the track since 1927, and many other nostalgic rides like the Tilt-a-Whirl, Log Flume, and Bumper Carsr. 

Theme parks are so much fun and I love visiting and testing out different parks to see which ones are my favorite. Whether you have little ones to entertain or you are looking for a thrill of a ride, you can most definitely find what you are looking for at any of these parks. Have fun this summer and if you're looking for a fun vacation spot, check out any of these awesome parks.

March 12, 2017

Delightfully Delicious: 712 in Council Bluffs

712 used to be just an area code for us. Recently, it became much more than that when 712 in Council Bluffs opened its doors! Using as much locally grown produce and locally-sourced meats as possible, the 712 restaurant + bar is bringing us something we've needed for a long time. A local contemporary restaurant for family dinners, romantic date nights, work get togethers, and girls night out. Yes, 712 is the perfect place for all of those and before we dive into the 712 menu, lets take a look inside to see why!

The atmosphere and decor made me smile as soon as I opened the door. A nod to Council Bluffs all around the walls, carried the 712 name right into the decor. As soon as you walk in, you are greeted by the hostess stand and a little waiting area. I snapped a pic during the rare moment it was empty on a Friday night, and they turn over tables quite quickly so there isn't much waiting - when you have a reservation.

A gorgeous mural fills one whole wall of 712, and features iconic Council Bluffs history and all those things that makes us, well, Council Bluffs, Iowa!

There is a nice sized bar at 712, featuring two televisions and 23 craft beers on tap, that include several local brews, and more being added. There is no shortage on wines at 712 either! Make sure you stop in for Happy Hour from 2:30PM  5:30PM where you can enjoy $1.00 off glasses!

Now, let's dig into the 712 menu! Two sided and loaded with delicious eats and drinks, there is a variety of items to choose from on this menu. Plus, they were offering two daily specials the night we were there. There are several starters and salads to kick things off with. Handheld eats include a burger and flatbread that I've heard great reviews on, as well as the grilled cheese that I'm going with next time, and the 712 Cubano that is quickly becoming a local favorite. Dinners and larger meals included pork chops, ribeyes, Plum Creek Chicken, salmon, and more.

We kicked the meal off with a bottle of Canti Italy Moscato and let me tell you, it gave my favorite a run for it's money. I've looked for this bottle twice since eating at 712 and have yet to find it. If you spot it anywhere in the area, let a girl know!

The Starters at 712 are a great mix of sliders, fried pickles, crab cakes, meatballs, and the housemade tater tots we dug into. Not quite what I expected but delicious and cheesy nonetheless. I spotted a plate of sliders come out and those pretzel buns were enough for me to mentally add them to my order for next time.

I ordered the Salmon, and highly recommend it! Cooked to the perfect tenderness and the flavor was on point. Laid upon a bed of rice and broccollini made for a situation where the fork didn't hit the table. I can not remember what was all in the rice, something about oysters, and it was very tasty!

My dinner date ordered the Plum Creek Chicken and highly recommends that as well. Served on the bone, this chicken was loaded with flavor. I've actually had Plum Creek Chicken at Jams, in the Old Market downtown, and really liked it as well. I have to say, Jams has been my favorite 'local food' eatery for awhile, but I'm pretty sure 712 just changed that - especially because it's right here in town!

For dessert, I had my first Creme Brulee experience. The custard was delicious and it was fun watching the caramelized top broken open. The slices of bananas on top were tasty with the custard and I totally could have eaten more of them! There are a few other desserts available if Creme Brulee isn't your thing. I recall something carrot and maybe chocolate torte being offered but my mind was already on the Creme Brulee.

Hopefully you are drooling and ready to pick up the phone and book a reservation at 712 for a delightfully delicious lunch or dinner!

Details about 712

Location: 1851 Madison Avenue in the old Valentino's space
Hours: 11AM - 10PM Monday - Thursday | 11AM - 11PM Friday & Saturday (Closed on Sundays for now -they will be opening for brunch VERY SOON!)
Phone Number: 712-256-5525

February 17, 2017

Get Your Groom On with Oliver Ridge Company

I love finding out about local entrepreneurs bringing their passions to life. Whether it's the next epic food truck idea, awesome music video, or 100% organic beard oils and beard balms from Oliver Ridge Company. Located in Omaha, Oliver Ridge Company are the makers of quality small batch grooming goods for men.

Almost everywhere you go, it seems like everyone is trying to do everything. The problem with that, is it all just turns out fine. Oliver Ridge Company isn't about pushing out a huge selection of products that are  'okay'. They want to release a product that is great before moving onto the next one. Right now, that product is beard oils and beard balms. Handcrafted in Omaha Nebraska, they focus on quality and are constantly testing to ensure they make the best products for your (or your man's) beard. The same men who make Oliver Ridge Company products are the same men who are testing the products on themselves. If it's not good enough for them, it's not good enough for you.

Oliver Ridge Company Beard Oils

All Oliver Ridge Company Beard Oils are made with all natural ingredients, and designed to be lightweight to give you a soft beard all day.

  • Woodshop Beard Oil: Scent of cedar, pine, and fresh wood shavings
  • Classic Beard Oil: Unscented
  • Idyllwild Beard Oil: Scent of a cedar forest after a good rain

Olive Ridge Company Beard Balms

Add a bit of hold and shape to your beard with Oliver Ridge Company Beard Balms. Also made with all natural ingredients, and designed to be lightweight to give you a soft beard all day.

  • Woodshop Beard Balm: Scent of cedar, pine, and fresh wood shavings
  • Pine Beard Balm: Scent of pine
  • Idyllwild Beard Balm: Scent of a cedar forest after a good rain

You can order Oliver Ridge Company products at, and they offer free shipping on all orders. Keep your eyes out for upcoming product releases, including shaving oil, mustache wax, and leather dopp bags. Plus, Oliver Ridge Company has joined the Beard Brothers Coalition, that was created to celebrate all the bearded brothers in business. They are putting together a database at that will have information on all beard related companies from around the world, as well as discounts and product offerings.

Thanks to Oliver Ridge Company, one lucky Midwest Mammas reader is going to WIN a Oliver Ridge Company Beard Oil and Beard Balm of their choice!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

January 2, 2017

20 Things to Do in Council Bluffs this Winter

January has arrived, and while we don't have snow on the ground, it is getting downright chilly. Don't let the colder temperatures keep you indoors during January and February. Here are 20 things to do in Council Bluffs this winter, for both adults and families to enjoy!

December 16, 2016

Locked Room Omaha is Ready for You!

You and six or seven of your most trusted friends and family are locked in a room. You are provided with little more than an introduction to the events that have happened within that room. Your job? Figure out how to escape or find the antidote so you don't die. Basically, Locked Room Omaha is ready for you if you think you are ready for them!

(Thanks to Locked Room Omaha for inviting me and my group out to experience their room. While they provided experience for free, any opinions are 100% my own.) 

Locked Room Omaha is located on 741 N. 120th in Omaha, situated behind Jensen Tire & Auto. When you arrive, the team at Locked Room Omaha will brief you on an escape room works, as well as give you the back story on the room you are about to enter. There are currently three escape rooms at Locked Room Omaha with a fourth "Fresh Meat" zombie style room being constructed right now. We got to take a peek and I can't wait for this room to open!

The room the we tested out was "Death by Wine". First of all WINE. Locked Room Omaha captured my heart with that alone! The room was a bit dark so we were given some lanterns and a flashlight to help us maneuver around. There were several locks throughout the room, and our job was to open them and find the antidote before we were turned into the next delicious wine served at the winery. I don't want to give away too much, but here are some pictures of the room.

Other escape rooms at Locked Room Omaha include "Back in the 50's" which is set up like super cool diner, and "Last Hour of the Titanic" which The Walking Tourists were experiencing while we were in our room.

Overall, every single one of us had a blast and left saying we wanted to come back and try another room. It was hard but not so hard you get frustrated and give up. The challenge of finding the antidote was a ton of fun and the Locked Room Omaha team was creative in how they hid they clues. We give them two thumbs and highly recommend experiencing them soon!

Reserve your Omaha escape room experience at Locked Room Omaha today and save 25% off for a limited time!
PS: They offer gift cards!

Locked Room Omaha Hours:

  • Monday-Thursday: Closed
  • Friday: 4:00PM - 10:30PM
  • Saturday: 11:00AM - 10:30PM
  • Sunday: 11:00AM - 6:00PM

November 29, 2016

Local Gifts to Give this Holiday Season

There are lots of great gift ideas that don't come from a traditional retail store. If you are looking to shop local this holiday season, you have come to the right place. There are lots of ways to save on local gifts to give this holiday season!

November 8, 2016

Christmas Open House at Community of Christ Thrift Store

Get holiday shopping out of the way, enjoy light refreshments, and maybe even win some prizes at Community of Christ Thrift Store's Christmas Open House! Lavonda Herrick is hosting this event, who just happens to be my grandma, so I know she put a lot of love, sweat, treats, and craftiness behind it. Stop out on Saturday November 12th for the festivities!

What: Christmas Open House
Where: Community of Christ Thrift Store at 17 N. 2nd Street in Council Bluffs
When: Saturday, November 12th from 9AM-2PM

November 6, 2016

Holiday Events in Council Bluffs

The decorations are up at Bayliss Park, and festive films are streaming on Netflix. That can only mean one thing. The holidays are here!! I love seeing the town get festive for the holidays, and I love all the Holiday Events in Council Bluffs for the community to enjoy. Concerts, crafts, and visits with Santa are all on this list, and it will be updated throughout the next two months.

Holiday Events in Council Bluffs 

October 27, 2016

Epic Gifts for Iowa Hawkeye Fans

Tickets to a Hawkeyes game are always going to be on the wish list of Iowa Hawkeye Fans. If I could buy them every year for my husband I would. But I can't. I always try to find him an Iowa Hawkeye Gift though. Sometimes it is handmade, other times it is store bought. If you are shopping for Iowa fans this holiday season, check out these Epic Gifts for Iowa Hawkeye Fans!

(This post may contain affiliate links to products I found.)

Gifts for Iowa Hawkeye Fans