Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Dining at Crave tucked inside Midtown Crossing in Omaha the other night, was a mix between "am I being Punk'd" and "did Gordon Ramsey make a visit here?" You see, I dined at Crave when they first opened and honestly, I wasn't impressed. This time around was a completely different story and now I can't wait to get back!

(Big thanks to Crave Omaha for inviting the Omaha Bloggers out or I would have never known about the changes!)

While Gordon Ramsey didn't visit, Crave did undergo some major changes since I was last there and if you haven't been you should experience Crave Omaha soon! In the past year and a half they have taken on new owners, new executive chef, new bar manager, and amazingly delicious food by the plateful. I joined a few other Omaha Bloggers to check out the menu and learn about the Father's Day Special at Crave in Omaha.

First, let me tell you about Father's Day because once we start talking food, you will forget a holiday is coming and get in your car to taste what I'm talking about. Sunday, June 19th you can enjoy an All You Can Eat Prime Rib Feast for $23.95 at Crave! The feast includes prime rib, baby red potatoes, green beans, dinner roll, and Crave salad. (Note, while kids eat free on Sundays with the purchase of an adult entree, this does not apply on Father's Day.)

Okay, the food. The Crave menu does not disappoint in any category. In addition to their regular menu, they have a great gluten-free menu, a kids menu, a date night menu, and vegan options as pretty much everything is fresh and made to order in house. For example, the sushi. Did you know Crave has sushi? Honestly, I'm not a big sushi fan but, the presentation was beautiful and the rest of the bloggers were enjoying every bite.

Appetizers are one of my favorite parts of the menu and I like that the appetizer portions at Crave are shareable. For me, that means meal sized and I'm all over that! We tried Calamari and Kogi Beef Tacos, I loved both and wouldn't let them remove the plate of tacos until I had polished off as much as I could. The flavor was SO good.

If you like a great salad, you can also find that at Crave. We sampled two types of chicken salads and both were yummy. My favorite overall was the Chopped Chicken Salad and one I would get again.

I'm not even sure where to begin on entrees because they were all so darn tasty. My overall favorite would probably be the Lemon Garlic Chicken.

A close second would be the Caprese Flatbread because the flavor on this was unbelievable.

Others that we tried included one of the most unique and tasty Beef Stroganoff dishes I've had...

...a very fresh and flavorful Norwegian Salmon....

....and Steak Frites that melted in your mouth.

Next to appetizers, dessert is the best part of the menu in my book. If you have trouble deciding, go with Crave's Dessert Sample for a little of all the best worlds. You get individual cups of French Silk, Salted Caramel Mousse, Blueberry Cheesecake, Tiramisu, Strawberry Pana Cota, and Tres Leches. If you like coconut, give "The Original" Coconut Cake a run for it's money with it's light and fluffy cake.

I have to give a nod to the S'mores Brownie. I even grabbed one of these to bring home and the oldest two kids really liked it. A graham cracker crust, brownie middle, marshmallow topping, and a side of marshmallow ice cream make this a great summer treat.

I seriously can not wait to get back to Crave and I think I'm going to hit up one of the Date Nights on Friday or Saturday. For just $60 you get two appetizers, two entrees, two desserts, and a bottle of wine! There is a special Date Night Menu featuring several of the dishes I featured above.

Fun Facts About Crave Omaha
  • 1/2 Price Wine Wednesday ($40 max Discount)
  • Kids Eat Free All Day on Sunday (with purchase of adult entree per kid - excludes holidays)
  • 1/2 Price Sushi on Sunday and Monday from 4 PM - Close
  • Police eat free (up to $25), and other discounts include 20% Off for Military and Mutual of Omaha Employees, and 15% off for UNMC and Creighton Employees and Students. 
  • Sunday Brunch is 11 AM - 2 PM
  • Happy Hour is Monday - Saturday from 3 PM - 6 PM and 9 PM - close, as well as all day on Sunday. 
  • Patio available but, no reservations are taken. 

Before heading to dinner, join the Crave Loyalty Program so you can start earning rewards each visit. You will also receive coupons for your birthday and anniversary.

Thanks to Crave Omaha, one lucky reader is going to WIN a $25 Crave Omaha Gift Card! Plus, through July 31st, 2016, if you mention that you read about Crave on Midwest Mammas, you will receive a 15% discount on your bill. 
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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Cake and ice cream, balloons, wrapping paper, invitations, goodie bags, and the list goes on. Planning a birthday party can require a lot of time and effort. If you'd rather just enjoy the day and leave most of the work (and clean up) to someone else, here are 9 Epic Places to Have Birthday Parties in Council Bluffs!


There are currently three birthday party packages available at Thunderbowl and they start at $8.95 per person. All parties include bowling, and depending on the package you choose you will get things like pizza, soda, game cards, and more.

Godfather's Pizza

We've held several birthday parties at Godfather's on West Broadway. They have party room that is free to use, and the only requirement when we booked it was to order pizza. It's a decent sized room with plenty of tables and seating, and I usually give the kids quarters to play the video games and claw machines.

Pizza King

There are 3 party rooms available at Pizza King for your next birthday party. No need to worry about food either, since you can order right there!

Canvas Concoctions

I recently told you about Canvas Concoctions opening up on the 100 Block and guess what? They host birthday parties! You choose the painting for the party guests to paint, and they can even take care of food, drinks, and decorations for you.

Council Bluffs Dance Center

If you have a little dancer, look into a birthday party at Council Bluffs Dance Center. My daughter had a party there and has been to several parties there, and they are always fun! Miss Dee Dee does a great job setting up the party, planning a dance number, and taking care of food, and making sure the kids all have fun!

InMotion Bounce and Gymnastics

You can book bounce birthday parties or gymnastic birthday parties at InMotion Bounce and Gymnastics. They just announced they will be moving to a new location, but they are still booking parties right now, as well as offering Open Bounce times this summer!

Pirates Cove Water Park and Katelman Water Park

You can book pool parties at either Pirates Cove or Katelman Water Park over the summer! Prices for parties with up to 30 people are $175 for Katelman and $200 for Pirates Cove.

Shady Lane Ranch

Plan a birthday party at Shady Lane Ranch, complete with hayrack rides, horse rides, or even a bonfire! We've been to and held a few parties at Shady Lane Ranch and loved every one of them They've all been in the fall, making for perfect weather.

AMC Theaters

Head to the movies for a birthday party at AMC Theaters! You can go early on the weekend to save some money, then grab lunch afterwards and open presents.

Where are your favorite places to have birthday parties in Council Bluffs?

Thursday, June 2, 2016

If you live in Iowa, two words you are probably familiar with are Honey Creek. Located just over 3 hours from Council Bluffs, Honey Creek is home to more than jut Honey Creek State Park. Sitting on the shore's of Lake Rathburn, Iowa's second largest lake, is the AAA Three Diamond-Rated Honey Creek Resort. A resort that will be receiving a $1.5 million dollar enhancement under the new management of Delaware North.

Photo Credit: Honey Creek Resort

Delaware North is one of the largest privately held global hospitality and food service companies in the world. Honey Creek Resort is owned by the State of Iowa, for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and Delaware North will now manage resort under a 15-year contract, which began June 1st. Honey Creek Resort was built in 2008 and is LEED Certified by the U.S. Green Buildings Council. Features of Honey Creek Resort currently include:

  • 105 guest rooms
  • 28 cottages with one, two or four bedrooms
  • RV park with 20 campsites
  • 18-hole championship links style golf course
  • 42-slip marina
  • 2-story pirate-themed indoor waterpark
  • Full-service restaurant and bar with outdoor patios
  • Walking trails, fishing opportunities, boat rentals, nature programs and wildlife watching.
Photo Credit: Honey Creek Resort

I haven't been to Honey Creek Resort yet but, it sounds like a great place to plan a weekend getaway, especially with the family! There is tons to do round Lake Rathbun’s sprawling 11,000 acres. You will find eight parks, two marinas and several restaurants and cultural activities to keep you busy!
"We are excited to have been selected by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to manage the beautiful Honey Creek Resort and are proud to add it to our portfolio of properties at national and state parks. We plan on making improvements to the property, including bringing our industry-leading food and beverage experience, to enhance the guest experience." - Jim Houser, President of Delaware North’s parks and resorts business.

Some of the other improvements Delaware North plans to integrate at Honey Creek Resort include its highly regarded customer service program, GuestPath®, and its environmental management program, GreenPath®, into the operation. In case you aren't familiar with Delaware North, they operates in many of the United States’ iconic national and state parks, including Grand Canyon National Park, Yellowstone National Park and Niagara Falls State Park, as well as at cultural attractions such as Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

A week doesn't go by where someone says they miss the old Council Bluffs Drive-In out by Manawa. Watching movies under the stars, crammed into the back of a car with speakers hanging on your window is an amazing experience. Something we want our kids to enjoy. We have a Backyard Movie Screen and projector to recreate that experience in our backyard, but it's not the same. It's awesome, but it's not that same. For me, nothing will ever replace the original Drive-In but, there are several places to enjoy Outdoor Movies in Omaha, and the surrounding areas.

Movies in the Park at Bayliss

Once again you can enjoy Movies in the Park at Bayliss in Council Bluffs. Movies are free and begin at dusk. In the even of a rainout, movies are rescheduled for the following Saturday. The line-up for this summer includes:

  • Inside Out (June 3rd)
  • Goosebumps (June 10th)
  • The Peanuts Movie (June 17th)
  • Kung Fu Panda 3 (June 24th)
  • Hotel Transylvania 2 (July 1st)
  • Alvin & The Chipmunks: Road Chip (July 8th)
  • Aladdin (July 15th)
  • Pan (July 22nd)
  • Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (July 29th)
  • Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (August 5th)

River's Edge Movie in the Park

On June 1st you can enjoy a free screening of Raider's of the Lost Ark during River's Edge Movies in the Park in Council Bluffs.

Sokol Park Drive-In Movies

Sokol Park Drive-In Movies this summer run $5-$10 per carload and gates open at 7pm, with movies starting at dusk. The line-up for this summer includes:
  • Finding Nemo (June 2nd)
  • The Goonies (June 5th)
  • Zootopia (June 12th)
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens (June 16th)
  •  The LEGO Movie (June 23rd)
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark (July 7th)
  • Nobody Calls Me Lebowshi and The Dark Side of OZ (Double Feature - July 8th)
  • Hook (July 10th)
  • Jurassic Park (July 14th)
  • The Incredibles (July 17th)
  • Dazed and Confused (July 24th)
  • Jumanji (August 4th)
  • Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Hot Tub Time Machine (Double Feature - August 5th)
Flix at the Chef

You can enjoy Free Outdoor Movies at Flix at the Chef held behind Dairy Chef in Elkorn. The movies begin at dusk, and free popcorn and parking is provided. The line-up includes:
  • Angels in the Outfield (June 11th)
  • Zootopia (July 9th)
  • Inside Out (August 13th)
  • Jungle Book (September 13th)
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens (October 1st)
Midtown Crossing Monday Night Movies

Monday Night Movies at Midtown Crossing are free and open to the public. Bring your blankets to Turner Park for the summer movie line-up that includes:

  • Inside Out (June 6th)
  • To Gun (June 13th)
  • Film Streams Feature: Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times (June 20th)
  • A League of Their Own (June 27th)
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off (July 11th)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (July 18th)
  • Pitch Perfect 2 (July 25th)

Camp Fontanelle Movie Nights

Movie Nights offered at Camp Fontenelle are open to the public and free will donation. You can come early and grill your dinner on one of five fire rings, or bring your lawn chairs and just enjoy the movie. You can email or call for a list of titles showing this summer.

Sumtur Amphitheater Starlight Movie Series

The Starlight Movie Series at Sumtur Amphitheater in Papillion is free, with gates opening at 7:30 and movies starting at dusk. The line-up for this includes:

  • Hotel Transylvania 2 (June 3rd)
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens (June 15)
  • Zootopia (July 29th)
  • The Good Dinosaur (August 5th)
  • Shaun the Sheep (August 12th)
  • Inside Out (August 19th)
For more summer fun, check out this list of Free Things To Do In Council Bluffs!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

I recently got the chance to learn all about Nebraska Wine Tours during a delicious night of sips and eats. If you love wine and taking in the beautiful scenery that Nebraska has to offer, you are going to love the tours that Nebraska Wine Tours offers.

Each tour that Nebraska Wine Tour offers, visits two or three wineries and points of interest along the route. You meet up at a convenient starting point for each trip, and enjoy four to five hours of wine sampling, winery tours, and more.You also get the added bonus of a driver and guide who will share information about the history of the wine industry in Nebraska, as well as answer your questions.

Current Nebraska Wine Tours

Missouri River Trot: Arbor Day Farm | Whiskey Run Creek Vineyard & Winery | Slattery Vintage Estates

Loup River Crawl: Moonlight Ridge Vineyard | Prairie Creek Vineyards | Lucky

Platte River Dash: Cellar 426 | Glacial Till Tasting Room | Prime Country Winery

Homestead Hike: Cuthills Vineyards | Nissen Wine

Stateline Sprint: Lucky Lady Tasting Room | Lazy Horse Vineyard | Rose Colored Class Tasting Room

Haymarket Creek Crossing: James Arthur Vineyards | WundeRosa

Cornhusker Cruise: Makovicka Winery | Redpath Gallery & Tasting Room | Junto Wine

Pioneers Pass: George Spencer Tasting Room | Cedar Hills Vineyard & Gardens | Miletta Vista Winery

Nebraska Wine  Tours also offers food to purchase on the wine tours. This isn't just any old brown bag turkey sandwich though. This is food spiced perfectly by Chef Jamil Bah!

We sampled a few items from the Nebraska Wine Tours Food Boxed Lunches and oh my goodness were they delicious! I wish Chef Jamil had a Food Truck so I could eat his dishes on a weekly basis and I wish I could remember what each of the items we sampled were, but I've misplaced my notes since the event so all I have to go on are pictures and memory. Beets - I remember beets and Quinoa and that is was SO good.

Nebraska Wine Tours are great for a couples date, girlfriends outing, company event, bachelorette party, and just because. I can't wait to experience my first tour and encourage you to check them out! Tour price is $125.00 per person per tour and all guests of Nebraska Wine Tours receive:
  • Trip-planning
  • Transportation to and from each location
  • Wine tasting and souvenir glass from each location
  • Reusable six-bottle wine tote to carry additional purchases
Which Nebraska Wine Tour caught your attention?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Summer is rapidly approaching and with it brings "I'm boooooored!". That usually happens within the first week of Summer vacation. To help you out, I've put together a list of free things to do in town. I will keep adding to this list as I come across events, so check back often!

Free Things To Do This Summer in Council Bluffs 2016


Free events at Loessfest begin May 28th with an Imagination Movers concert and outdoor showing of Inside Out on the big screen. Other free events throughout the weekend include Sprite Night with DJ Hot Scott, Bike the Bluffs, and more!

Council Bluffs Public Library Summer Reading Club and Activities

The Summer Reading Club at the CB Public Library runs from May 23rd - August 15th with the chance to win fun prizes. There are also weekly activities still going on, including storytime, magic show, putt-putt, and more. The Teen Events during the Summer include and Iron Chef style cooking challenge, movie making, escape room, art, and more.

Music and Movies in the Park

Music and Movies in the Park are held every Wednesday from June 15th - August 17th beginning at 6:30. Check out the schedule for concerts, as of this writing the movie schedule wasn't up.

Free Summer Lunch and Breakfast 2016

There are several locations to enjoy free Summer lunch and breakfast from June 20th - July 29th. Children ages 1 - 18 are welcome, and there are also adult lunches available.

Hydrant Parties

Another great way to cool off over the Summer are free Hydrant Parties. Held at various locations throughout the city from June 9th - August 6th from 1:30-2:30 with frozen treats provided by Hy-vee, you can check out the full Hydrant Parties Schedule for 2016 to find some near your neighborhood.

If You Build It Family Event

The first Friday of every month brings a free If you Build It Family Event to the Union Pacific Railroad Museum. The event begins at 5pm and the next one is June 3rd.

Kids Fishing Derby

The Kids Fishing Derby is held during Free Fishing Weekend in Iowa, which is June 4th. All kids under 16 can enter the derby, and there are free gifts for kids entered in the derby.

Hitch Hike at Hitchcock

Take the family for a Hitch Hike at Hitchcock Nature Center on Tuesdays. They have a whole series with a different focus each time so you can learn something new each hike!

Night Sky at Hitchcock

On August 12th you can lay out under the stars at Hitchcock Nature Center, for a viewing of the Perseids' Meteor Shower.

Splash Parks at Bayliss and Fairmont Park

Cool down this summer with a stop by the splash parks at Bayliss and Fairmont Park. I haven't been out to the new one at Fairmont but, I'm excited to check it out soon! Have you been?

Monday, May 23, 2016

If the names Ryder, Chase, Marshall, Rocky, Rubble, Zuma, Skye, and Everest are familiar to you......you probably have kids in your life. Paw Patrol has been a topic of conversation, regular on our TV, and a frequent a play time for the past two years. My twins LOVE Paw Patrol, and even had a Paw Patrol Themed Birthday this past January. You can bet I will be holding off on telling them about Paw Patrol Live Coming to Omaha until the day of the show!

That's right, the hit animated TV series on Nickelodeon is coming to Omaha. Paw Patrol Live! will take the stage at The Orpheum Theater in Omaha on November 26th and 27th.

PAW Patrol Live! “Race to the Rescue” brings everybody’s favorite pups to the stage for an action-packed, high-energy, musical adventure. When Mayor Goodway goes missing during the day of the Great Race, the pups come to the rescue. Join Ryder, Chase, Marshall, Rocky, Rubble, Zuma, Skye and the newest pup, Everest, when they visit The Orpheum Theater in Omaha

This is sure to be an adventure packed show for all ages, with lots of lessons snuck in. As a parent, I appreciate when my children's favorite characters approach age appropriate topics and open conversations for me to have with my kids.

“Race to the Rescue” shows that “no job is too big, no pup is too small,” and shares lessons for all ages about citizenship, social skills and problem-solving as the characters each use their unique skills and teamwork. 
Paw Patrol Live includes two acts and an intermission. I doubt there will be a dull moment when you have things like innovative costumes that bring the pups to life on stage WITH their vehicles and packs during the all-important rescue mission. Be prepared for some dancing in your seat to up-tempo music and be wowed with a high-tech video wall that visually transports families to popular locations from the TV series, like Adventure Bay, The Lookout, Seal Island, Farmer Yumi's Farm and Jake's Mountain.

I saved the best for last. During the show, guests have the opportunity to participate in the adventure and become a part of the PAW Patrol Cheer Team! How awesome is that?!

PAW Patrol Live! “Race to the Rescue” at The Orpheum Theater
When: Saturday November 26th 10:00 AM and 3:30 PM and Sunday November 27th 10:00 AM and 3:30 PM
Tickets: $21.25, $31.25 and $41.25. A limited number of $49.25 Gold Circle and $79.25 VIP (Very Important Pup) Packages* are also available. that features premium show seating, a commemorative lanyard and an after-show Meet & Greet with members of PAW Patrol Live!

Purchase Paw Patrol Live Tickets at TicketOmaha.com or to charge tickets by phone, call 800-434-8587. 

For more information, please visit PawPatrolLive.com, where you can also sign up to receive PAW Patrol Live! Tail Mail with tour updates and other ticket information.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Today's post and giveaway is sponsored by Kwik Shop.

Last weekend I hit the road to Kansas City for a blog conference. A short drive, but just long enough to need some road trip must haves. You know, things like awesome company to chat with along the drive, tasty snacks, a thirst quenching beverage, and a tank full of gas! I got all of that AND earned bonus points for Fuel at Kwik Shop thanks to their new rewards program!

Whether you are planning an upcoming road trip, enjoy getting rewarded, or love saving on fuel, the Kwik Shop Rewards program is for you! Now you can earn cents of a gallon faster, and in a whole new way. Simply stop by your local Kwik Shop to sign up for your rewards card to begin earning those bonus points! Every 100 points you earn equals 10 cents off per gallon and there are some great Bonus Points offers going on right now!

Featured specials change monthly and you can look for bonus points signage throughout the store to find ways to earn. You will see your bonus points earned on your receipt, as well as how many cents of a gallon you have accumulated. Keep note of the expiration date too so you don't lose them!

To celebrate the new Kwik Shop rewards program, one lucky Midwest Mammas reader is going to WIN a $25 Kwik Shop Gift Card!

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

My twins turn three this month and what better way to celebrate than their first show at The Rose! Thanks to The Rose for providing us with tickets to see A Child's Garden of Verses and if you have little kids you don't want to miss the latest Pre-K show to hit their stage!

A Child's Garden of Verses is an adorable show featuring the classic poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson in a turn of the century garden where young children are welcome to explore and interact with our actors as they grow their imaginations.

Making up the cast of A Child's Garden of Verses are a few actors, a musician, and puppetry. I'm a big fan of puppets in kids shows, especially when they talk! One of the things that makes this a great show for young kids is that it is multi-sensory and highly interactive. Audiences will help grow a garden, and their imaginations, as they frolic in the leaves, feed a bird, sing in the rain, dance with the wind, build a boat and discover treasures, including the greatest of them all – friendship. Doesn't that sound like a great time to enjoy with your kiddos?!

You can get tickets to A Child's Garden of Verses at The Rose now. Single Tickets are $12.00 each and $10.00 for The Rose Members. Shows are filling up fast so if you are thinking about this show, you may want to check it out now.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The first speaker in the 2016 National Geographic Live! Series at Holland Performing Arts Center will be taking us on the search for Big Cats! We're talking Cougars, Snow Leopards, and the world's most endangered big cats, Tigers. Thanks to Omaha Performing Arts, we received complimentary tickets and I'm super excited to take my oldest two kids!

(Photo Credit: Steve Winter)

I'm not quite sure where my love for big cats came from. Courage the Cowardly Lion gaining back his courage, Tony the Tiger giving me a grrrrreat breakfast, or the actively roartastic lions and tigers at the zoo. That love for big cats has been passed onto my kids who love heading to see the tigers at the zoo, sport their tiger masks during playtime, and snuggle up with their lions at nap. Do you have a love for big cats too?

(Photo Credit: Steve Winter)

Whether you love big cats or not, you don't want to miss Omaha Performing Arts presents National Geographic Live’s “On the Trail of Big Cats: Tigers, Cougars, and Snow Leopards” with Steve Winter on March 22nd 2nd at 6:30. Loaded with images and footage from his journey, Winter will take us around the world in search of big cats during “On the Trail of Big Cats”. Including stops in Asian jungles where resilient tiger populations persist, to the Himalaya where the rare snow leopard calls home, and even the iconic "Hollywood" sign in pursuit of the American cougar.

(Photo Credit: Steve Winter)

National Geographic Live! offers family friendly shows with both dangerous and lighter moments. This will be my first National Geographic Live! and I'm looking forward to the conversations it sparks with my kids, and sporting my Big Cats TOMS that I received as a National Geographic Kids Insider! I'm almost betting everyone is going to leave the show wanting to learn more about big cats and how to help save tigers. Especially the kids. If that ends up being your kids, here are some ideas and resources for teaching kids about big cats!

(Photo Credit: Steve Winter)

Mark your calendars for National Geographic Live’s "On the Trail of Big Cats" with Steve Winter on Tuesday, March 22nd at 7:30 p.m. at Holland Performing Arts Center. You can purchase tickets at TicketOmaha.org today and save $5.00 off tickets when you use Promo Code CATS through February 1st!

Other National Geographic Live! shows for this season include:
  • National Geographic Live’s Untamed Wild with Cory Richards (March 8th, 7:30 p.m.)
  • National Geographic Live’s The Search for Life Beyond Earth with Kevin Hand (April 12th, 7:30 p.m.)