Annual Events

One Week Left Until … (Why We Still Need to Vote)

One week left until the political ad’s stop for a bit.  And maybe the political survey calls too.  At least I am hopeful that will happen!

Yes, I am grateful for those who spend their time in political service.  I know that those jobs can definitely require sacrifice.  And commitment.  But I absolutely could do without so many television advertisements.  Especially the attack ad’s.   That does not persuade me AT ALL to want to vote for the person who is being critical.  In fact, the opposite tends to be true – that person is the one who often will NOT get my vote.   Although I am rather tired of the campaigns, I do feel that voting is a privilege and a responsibility!

Because many of the candidates seem to have similar views, at least during the primaries, trying to know who I really want elected to office can be confusing.  That is why I am grateful for one particular site.  This non-partisan site presents surveys to all of the area candidates.  You can then compare the answers and decide which person lines up with your own ideology.  No opinions – just the facts.

You can search by county or by race.  I have found that it is particularly helpful in learning about judges or the “smaller” races that do not pay for advertisements.  This is a LOCAL NEBRASKA site.  They are always looking for volunteers (and for donors who will continue to help improve their website).    I have been in touch with the lady who started this site, and I am so appreciative of her efforts.  She and the other volunteers have done an excellent job of helping Nebraskan voters be informed and educated.  So, I know that when I vote next week I will be able to vote according to what I believe and for the issues that I think are important!


P.S.  Ever wonder if your vote really matters?

Power of One Vote

What a difference one vote makes (on PBS Kids site)

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Travel Tips Tuesday: Passports and Pursuits are Back

This is a fun time of year to be a tourist in Nebraska.  All three of the programs that we enjoy participating in as a family are back.  Basically you go to their suggested places and get rubbings or stamps to show that you visited.  Then you are eligible for prizes.  Best yet you get to make memories as you travel around our great state!

Nebraska Great Park Pursuit (Explore 20 of Nebraska’s state parks and recreation areas!)

Back Home


Nebraska Passport (80 options across the state on several tours including “Forks in the Road” and “Stars and Stripes”

Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown (Lincoln): This one just started again YESTERDAY, so the links may not be up quite yet.

Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau

You can pick up the passports at participating locations.  I will be featuring many of these places over the next several months on my blog!  Go out and explore – today is supposed to be a beautiful day!

Categories: Annual Events, Great Park Pursuit, Lincoln "Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown", Nebraska Passport, Passport Pursuit Programs | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Nebraska Science Festival This Week-end (April 26-27)

Nebraska Science Festival 2014

When I first heard about the Nebraska Science Festival, I felt a bit behind.  How did I miss this huge event going on?  But now that I know that this gigantic science fair of sorts is only in its second year, I realized I am not quite as out of it as I thought.  I must say for this being a relatively new event, they have quite the line-up.  What is possibly the best part?  Free or discounted admission to many places!  NOTE: Tickets are still required.  To print out your complimentary tickets and to see the schedule, please visit their site!

Now to highlight a few of the events that are especially for families … (information taken directly from their website!)

The Expo will be held April 24-26 from 8:30 am to 2 pm at The Durham Museum and The Strategic Air & Space Museum. The Expo on April 26 at The Durham Museum will be held from 9 am to 1pm. It’s expected to attract up to 2,000 plus visitors, so be prepared for a busy day!

City Sprouts Community Garden will have special events happening this morning.  This Omaha place is all about involving the community in planting.  They will feature an Arbor Day theme today with educational stations.

(Unfortunately the “Science of Ice Cream is full at E-Creamery.  Doesn’t that sound like a delicious opportunity?)

Fontenelle Forest

April 26 – 27 | 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Stop by the Fontenelle Forest Nature Center on April 26-27 and receive free admission to the forest from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Thanks to a partnership with NET Television, Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie will make a special appearance both afternoons to meet and take photos with children.

I haven’t been to Fontenelle Forest  since I was a child and was trying to figure out how we could make it up there today.  Alas with two baseball practices, a party and a gathering, our visit will have to wait for another day.  Normally it would cost our family $34 to attend, so the free admission is a BIG deal.  Go out and enjoy the free event!

(The “Science of Bacon” at the French Bulldog is also sold out.  I think I am getting hungry …)

The Heartland Organization of Rocketry (T.H.O.R.) had to cancel their plans for the next two days due to the possibility of impending bad weather.

Laurtizen Gardens: I mentioned their TREEmendous Arbor Day Celebration, but I forgot to mention that a kid is admitted free with each paying adult – a definite bargain.  Plus, again the first 100 households leave with a free tree seedling!  (If you have never been to the Gardens, they are absolutely beautiful!)

Lincoln Children’s Museum

April 26 | 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Join us for Science Saturday at Lincoln Children’s Museum. We’re teaming up with University of Nebraska-Lincoln engineering and science students to conduct experiments and engineering feats. (NOTE: I heard a rumor that they also have free children’s admission for the first early arrivers today!)

Lincoln Children’s Zoo

April 26 – 27 | 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  

Special stations are happening throughout the zoo!

Omaha Children’s Museum

April 27 | 1 – 5 p.m. (TOMORROW)

Enjoy quirky science with the Mad Scientist Show or the April Fool’s Science Show, immerse yourself in a 360-degree science program in the Discovery Dome Planetarium, or enjoy our newest permanent exhibit, “Maker Space.”  Always a  fun musuem to visit!

University of Nebraska State Museum

April 24 – 27 | UNL’s Morrill Hall and Mueller Planetarium

Today just happens to be “Astronomy Day” with all kinds of activities planned.  Yes, there is still admission.  But how many days do you get to meet an astronaut?

I hope you are able to check out some of these fun events!  They are hoping to make this even more of a statewide event.  So, if this week does not work for you, be watching for it next year!  I know that I am already hoping we can attend the school day portion next year!

P.S. I have no idea why the last half is all in italics.  Sorry about that!  Computers!




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Arbor Day In Nebraska

Just in case you missed it, the holiday that Nebraskans can be most proud of is today.  Why?  Because Arbor Day originated in Nebraska.  (Maybe next year I will write a “Flashback Friday” on that!)  Many festivities are planned across the state.  I missed a few today (sorry – I had originally looked it up in the wrong place!), but there are enough activities taking place the rest of the week-end to still keep you plenty busy!

Nebraska City

Arbor Day Festival  How could I start at any another town besides the place that it all originated?  Nebraska City has activities planned all week-end including a fun run, bake sale, flea market and even a parade.  If you hurry, you can catch the two hour carnival tonight.


Lauritzen Gardens  TREEmendous Arbor Day Celebration

Tomorrow morning from 9 to 12, you can take a hike and also learn more about trees.  Early arriver?  The first one hundred groups will receive a free seedling!

Know of any other Arbor Day events?  Please comment below or on my Facebook page.  Of course, you can celebrate wherever you go!  The forecast is good – get out and enjoy! 🙂  I can”t resist ending with a song I remember hearing whenever it was Arbor Day time.

P.S. This also happens to be the Nebraska Science Festival week-end!  Even more activities are happening around the Eastern part of Nebraska, and I will write about them tomorrow morning!




Categories: Annual Events, Metro, Nebraska History, Organizations across Nebraska, Pioneer Country, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Moving Monday: Shakespeare in Nebraska!

Somehow the Bard and (Ne)Braska just do not seem to go together very well.  But there are some actors in the Good Life state that would like to change that.  Since this week happens to be Shakespeare’s birthday, what a better time to find out more?

File:William Shakespeare Chandos Portrait.jpg

(Image from Wikimedia Commons)

I stumbled upon the Nebraska Shakespeare Company when I was flipping channels a few months back.  NET Public Television featured this outstanding theater company as part of their “Nebraska Stories” program.  If you have 10-15 minutes, the program is worth watching.  I love how they are bringing Old English to Nebraska.

Nebraska Stories: Shakespeare Wild West Episode Excerpt

Since Wednesday is considered to be Shakespeare’s birthday – his 450th one to be precise- what a great day to throw a party!  Celebrations will be happening across the “Globe” (:-) ), along with Talk Like Shakespeare Day.    If you can attempt to sound like you are a Shakespearean actor, you may qualify for free food and prizes.  I will post any places I come across on my Facebook page in the next day or two.  There also happens to be a sonnet contest!      Talk Like Shakespeare is a national site where you can find out even more.

“Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow.” (The Man Himself)

Categories: Annual Events, Frontier Trails, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Metro, Panhandle, Pioneer Country, Prairie Lakes, Region or City, Sandhills | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Earth Wellness Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska

Yesterday I had the privilege of bringing a group of homeschoolers to the 20th annual Earth Wellness Festival.  This is an event that is for Lincoln area fifth graders, and one I was involved with as a teacher.  I was excited to get to take  my oldest son and some friends.

For each festival, the student groups get to attend three separate workshops, and then all of the groups assemble together to watch a raptor show.  This event runs for two days, so several sections come to visit the events.  Each “workshop” is presented many times by volunteers from the community.

Here are the workshops we attended …


Yes, you read that correctly.  We learned all about poop can help in detecting which animals are in the area.  (Bet I may not use that word on this blog again for a long time!)  This definitely appealed to the boys as they all got to create edible scat out of tootsie rolls and other added ingredients.  (Hence the picture of the shredded wheat from yesterday!)

Earth Wellness Festival One

Our second workshop had to with learning about saline wetlands.  I definitely learned a lot about the habitat that exists nearby our metro area.  This culminated in a fun game of jeopardy.

Earth Wellness Festival Two

Our third workshop  had to do with CROPS (community gardens) and composting.  Including the worm variety.  The kids enjoyed getting to hold the worms.  I had never pondered all of the items that should not be composted (especially processed ones!)  Maybe someday I would even be willing to give this ecological habit a try someday!

Earth Wellness Festival Three

The highlight every year is the raptor show.  Just something special about having a large bird of prey fly right over your head.  They are beautiful animals to see in flight.

Earth Wellness Festival Four

Although he did not actually fly, the favorite bird of both me and my son was probably the bald eagle.  What a beautiful animal!

Earth Wellness Festival Five

This one was much smaller than we expected.  Evidently the baby birds have only brown tail feathers, so maybe we have seen a baby bald eagle without realizing it!

I enjoyed attending the Earth Wellness Festival as a mom.  I definitely want to take my other children/students when they are in fifth grade.  What a great event for those in ecology and conservation to put on for the Lincoln area kids!

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Friday Flashback: Enjoying the Nebraska Boys State Basketball Tournament

This is another more personal post – I hope you enjoy reading my recollections.

Throughout junior high and high school, one of my favorite yearly memories was the Nebraska Boys State Basketball Tournament.  Almost every year we had Friday off the week of state tournament.  And often that 2nd Friday in March was a lovely day outside, just like today.  I remember wearing shorts – something that was not a part of our private school dress code at the time.

The first year I distinctly remember the tournament was watching my school, Lincoln Christian, win for the first time in 1988, when I was in 8th grade.  (I must confess I had to look at the NSAA record books to verify that was in fact the year).  Being a part of the hype and the experience was such fun!  I can even still tell you  many of the players names.  Now when we managed to win three extremely close games when I was a junior in high school in 1991, the week-end was almost unreal.  These were my friends on the court, and I greatly enjoyed seeing them get the victory.  For some odd reason, we had a high school teacher that let us listen to the state game tapes during class while we were working on papers.  With headphones in our walkmans.  (Yes, I think I must be old!) 

I missed some of the following years of games due to being at college, but my brother informs me that Lincoln Christian played the eventual state champion almost every year consecutively for a long stretch.  Unfortunately for our teams, most of the time they were on losing end.  I do remember relishing seeing my brother play a part of the team for a few years – I had moved back and was actually teaching at Lincoln Christian his last two years of high school.  I know I was in attendance in 1999 when L.C.S. won state again, and my brother made the long trek back from college in Indiana to see his former teammates win the C1 finals

The picture that I posted yesterday was from 2004.  If you look closely, you can see that the medals were silver.  The boys were runners-up that year.  I know that I attended at least one of the games that year, probably with my 17 month old in tow.  (He has been a basketball fan all of his life basically).  This was the year that life transitioned.  No longer was I watching friends – instead my former students were the ones storming the court. 

As Lincoln Christian has made tournament appearances in recent years, we have enjoyed catching a game or two.  I dragged all four kids to the 2nd round game three years ago.  A cool high school from our church was on the team then, and the kids greatly enjoyed watching Eli play in person.  While the names on the backs of the jerseys have changed, the experience has not.  Catching a great game of hoops is always a great possibility during Nebraska Boys State Basketball Tournament time!  While I do not know any of the teams this year, I am sure we will watch a bit of a game or two (or more) tomorrow.  In fact, you can see the games on NET or watch the games live on NET.  Go, teams!

P.S. A big thank you to Lincoln Christian Director of Admissions, Jill Baker, for finding the Lincoln Christian basketball pictures for me for the past two weeks. She was a BIG help.  I am sure she would be glad to tell you more about Lincoln Christian.  I can speak from experience as a former student and former teacher that the school is a great place to learn!

Categories: Annual Events, Frontier Trails, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Metro, Panhandle, Pioneer Country, Prairie Lakes, Region or City, Sandhills, Wordless Wednesdays: Where Were We in Nebraska? | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nebraska Boys State Basketball Tournament 2014

Now flooded with boys basketball fans from across the state, the Capital City is going to be a happening place for the next few days.  By now, one set of games is already in the record books.  But despite being a bit delayed today, I still wanted to give a shout out to all of the teams that have made it into the tournament this year.  So, just like last week, I will show which teams are from each of the regions of the state. Teams are mentioned in order from the site.  To know the official pairings, please visit the Nebraska School Activities Association website.

Frontier Trails

Grand Island Northwest


Kearney Catholic


Southern Valley (Oxford)

Elm Creek



Lewis and Clark



Scotus (Columbus)

Boone Central/Newman Grove (Albion)

Battle Creek






Spalding/Spalding Academy


Omaha Benson

Lincoln Northeast

Westside (Omaha)

Lincoln Southeast

Omaha South

Omaha Central

Bellevue West

Pius X

Roncali (Omaha)

Elkhorn South

Skutt Catholic (Omaha)


Neumann (Wahoo)

Archbishop Bergan (Fremont)




Leyton (Dalton)

Pioneer Country



Falls City

Freeman (Adams area)


Lourdes Central Catholic (Nebraska City)

Sacred Heart (Falls City)

High Plains (Polk)


Prairie Lakes

St. Patrick (North Platte)

Hitchcock County



Congrats to all of the participants!  Go, teams!

By the way, looking for information on parking while you visit Lincoln?  Or on other activities to do in town besides basketball?  Lincoln Convention and Visitor’s Bureau has all of the information to make your visit to Lincoln a pleasant one!

Tomorrow I will again be nostalgic about some of my favorite memories of the Nebraska boys state basketball tournament!


Categories: Annual Events, Family Outings, Frontier Trails, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Metro, Panhandle, Pioneer Country, Prairie Lakes, Region or City, Sandhills | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Friday Flashback: Being a Part of the Nebraska Girls State Basketball Tournament

This blog post is definitely more personal and probably less relevant.  But I was enjoying reminiscing of a time many years ago now.  Thanks for indulging me.

Just to be clear right away … I never played in the basketball state tournament.  For those of you who know me, I am short and slow.  I play a mean game of H-O-R-S-E, but other than some jv ball, that is as far as my skills have ever taken me.  But because of years of watching, I do know the game of basketball and that started when I sat on the bench in high school.

You see, after helping take stats when I was a sophomore, I learned I enjoyed watching the game with a critical eye.  So, the next two years, I did not play but instead managed and become team statistician.  I can still do many percentages in my head because of that time.  Being a part of the Lincoln Christian team was a wonderful experience.  While I may not have been on the court, my friends were, and I definitely felt a part of the experience.

Thanks to the excellent online records over at Nebraska School Activities Association, I could verify that our girls team was at state every year that I was in high school.  Mainly we seemed to always get stopped at Pershing – that was always an odd place to have a game as the court felt like an island.  The closest we came to a championship during that season was an unexpected runner-up my freshman year.

State tournament time was filled with team togetherness, meals made by moms and school spirit.  One year when we lost first round, I recall going to watch other games as a team (after all, we had the passes!)  The camaraderie from that season of life will always be a special memory.

Fast forward to the game picture I featured on Wednesday.

Girls State Basketball

First of all, thanks to Jill and to Susie for getting the pictures/article for me.  A Columbus Scotus player’s shot is being blocked by Megan Wilson of Lincoln Christian, the team that went on to win the Class C-1 title game in 2002.  This is the one and only time that L.C.S. girls won the state championship so far.

I have to confess that I watched the game on tv, but I had been in attendance at the game the day before.  I had just finished teaching five years at Lincoln Christian and had moved into subbing mode.  We had just found that we were expecting our first baby. (In fact, my morning sickness began that week-end and stopped the day he was born 8 months later.  He’s 11 now and was worth it!)  Anyway, funny how all of that can be brought to mind with just one photograph.  I tried to find an actual link to the article, but that does not seem to be easily found – so thanks again to Susie for still having the article on hand!  🙂

I know that many more memories are being made this week-end.  I hope that the players and managers will also be able to look back with fondness at this time period.  While the losses sting at the moment, they definitely lessen over time.  Just the togetherness of being with your friends remain.  Of course maybe I would feel differently if I had been the one that missed shots …

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Birthday Parties for Nebraska

Did you realize that today is Nebraska’s 147th birthday of being a state?


Evidently we missed the program that happened yesterday morning at 8 at the Nebraska Capitol building.  But who can be anywhere on time with kids that early in the morning anyway?  There is a special statehood day event at the capitol, but evidently it is not open to the public?

Thankfully there is a celebration planned today at the Nebraska History Museum (14th & P in Lincoln).

Saturday, March 1, 2014
•Enjoy creating crafts
•Learn interesting facts about Nebraska
•Play Nebraska themed games
Supplies will be provided, and no reservations are necessary.
For more information, please contact, 402-471-4782 or check in at
And just for fun … let’s end with McCook elementary school students who were celebrating Nebraska’s birthday several years ago by singing the state song.

Categories: Annual Events, Frontier Trails, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Metro, Nebraska History, Panhandle, Pioneer Country, Prairie Lakes, Region or City, Sandhills | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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