Posts Tagged With: Shopping

A Guide to Gift Cards: Last Minute Shopping Across Nebraska

Like everyone, I have family members that are a bit challenging to shop for.  (For some odd reason, my teenage nephew just does not seem to want me to buy clothes for him anymore? 🙂 )  So, I often rely on gift cards.  Now I have developed a strategy in helping stretch the amount of the cards.  After all, while you can buy other gifts on sale, gift card face amounts do not lie.  And gift cards are not on sale.  Unless you know how to shop for them …

First of all, sometimes Black Friday brings gift card sales.  For the last several years, Hy-Vee has had a deal where you bought 3-4 gift cards at a time, and you can get $5 off each.  Yes, I realize it is too late for this year, but just file that little info. away.  Closer to Christmas, stores might again be offering sales on these – worth checking around!

Second, many stores offer a “bonus” if you purchase a certain amount.  Usually you can even split the amount on several cards.  Either you get an extra amount on the card for free or sometimes a free meal card!

Raising Canes in Lincoln

Third, certain places actually give to charity if you purchase a gift card from them.  The best example is Raising Canes in Lincoln.  If you purchase at least $15 worth of gift cards, they donate 10% toward a charity that buys toys for underprivileged kids!  Double the giving!

So, those are a few trips on buying cards to give away.  But I will be honest – our family stocks up on these cards during December to use for us.  This way in the remaining months of winter, we can eat out for a bit less money.  Our favorite place to do this in December was  Runza.  We bought the $25 gift card, then used it buy our lunch that day, going home with a free meal certificate.  We  “may”  have done this a few times :-), and now we have “free meals” to enjoy after Christmas.

Dinos in Lincoln

My husband and I recently did this for a date lunch as well.  When dining at Dino’s Eastside Grille, we purchased $25 gift card.  We received $5 free!  We paid for the meal with our gift card, and now we will get to dine there again on another date with our remaining balance!

Happy giving (and eating!)


Categories: Annual Events, Frontier Trails, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Metro, Panhandle, Pioneer Country, Prairie Lakes, Region or City, Sandhills | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Shopping Saturday: Susan’s Bookstore in Aurora, Nebraska

I meant to do this post 2 weeks ago on “Small Business Saturday.”  Can I blame my lapse on lack of batteries?  I accidentally ran down my camera batteries and could not find my charger for awhile.  So, when I finally downloaded my pictures, I found the photographs of one of my favorite places to go across the state!

Susan's Signs

Susan’s Books and Gifts is located on Aurora’s town square.  My extended family is from that area, so through the years we have  often found ourselves at this lovely and whimsical place.  What the store has to offer is endless possibilities!

Susan's Bookstore All 4 kids

Occasionally I can run into a store for a quick moment and leave my kids in the care with my husband.  That does not work with Susan’s – my kids love the store as much as I do.  Her toy selection is immense.  Not run-of-the-mill toys either – creative and interesting offerings that capture the imagination!  If I had a million dollars … 🙂

Susan's Bookstore for Girls

Here are a few more of their displays.  My daughter loves playing with the kitchen and dollhouse.  My boys generally camp out at the train table.  I wander around picking up a few things and trying hard not to spend as much as I really want to.  I have never left Susan’s without at least a small purchase – her store just has so much to offer!

Susan's Lollipop Shop

She has expanded beyond books and toys into candy – a large selection is available, including the world’s largest gummy bear!  What do I  love most about the store?  I do like looking at the creative toys and browsing through books.  She does have new selections, but the used books just seem to have more of a story. And the atmosphere is so friendly.

But, my favorite part is seeing Susan herself.  If I stop by and she is  not there, I leave a bit sad.  Susan is such a kind and welcoming person.  Even though I only make it to the store a few times a year, she makes a point of remembering me and greeting me with a big hug!  If you click on the store link, you can see lots of pictures of Susan with visiting kids. (I did not want to post those here without permission from the parents!)   She also writes a weekly newsletter complete with book reviews and Latin quotes.  If you are a reader, you definitely want to sign up for these – great literary and life insights!  I highly recommend visiting Susan’s Books and Gifts in Aurora, Nebraska!


Categories: Local Business, Pioneer Country, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas with a Cause: City Impact’s “Gifts of Love” in Lincoln, NE

Since 1997, City Impact has been making a difference in the lives of youth and families in urban Lincoln.  This organization has always been dear to my heart, partially since it is run by my dear high school friend, Carma and her husband, Brad.  But also because I love the work that they do there on behalf of those who need support guidance to go the right direction.  They are involved in ministry throughout the year, but one of the ways they make the biggest difference is through their annual “Gifts of Love” Christmas store.

City Impact Gifts 1

(Picture used with permission from City Impact)

I realize that there are many, many places that do a great work and that help out those in need.  But I really appreciate City Impact’s approach.  Families are not just given items – they are required to spend a bit of their own money on gifts.  This allows them to personalizes their giving.

Here is an excerpt from their website explaining more …

“Gifts of Love”™ is a community Christmas store open to low-income families with children who qualify for free or reduced school lunches. New gift items are donated and marked down 70% off retail value, which allows families to shop for their loved ones with dignity.  Children in City Impact’s weekly programs earn vouchers to shop for their adult loved ones as well

Last year, with the help of over 950 volunteers, over $100,000 of new items (toys, electronics, clothing, financial investments and other holiday gift items) were donated to support more than 1,600 children and their families.

Is this just not amazing!  Love how they go about providing for the needs of others.  Providing Christmas with dignity.

This year they are asking for additional help from the community.  The need seems to be greater than ever.  They are anticipating making even more of an impact this Christmas.  If you live in the Lincoln area, you can go out shopping yourself using the list of gift suggestions.  (A great way to have your kids pick out presents for someone other than themselves!)  Or you can simply donate online.  You can help make this a Christmas that struggling families will never forget!

City Impact Gifts 2

(Picture used with permission from City Impact)

Categories: Causes Across Nebraska, Lincoln, Metro, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Indigo Bridge Books: Lincoln’s Local Wonderful Bookstore

Indigo Bridge Books Sign

If you have ever been to Indigo Bridge Books once, you have probably been back.  Maybe it is a bit the setting – in an older “classic” Lincoln building, full of warmth and charm.

Indigo Bridge Books Coffee Counter

Or maybe you go back for “The Cafe.”  Their gourmet coffee.  Their featured food items from local bakeries.  A quiet place to study and reflect or enjoy conversation.  And maybe Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays find you eating lunch at “The Table”,  lunch that involves soup and bread and, more importantly, community and conversation.

Or maybe you go back for your kids.  Because they want to play at the train table.  Or sit in the rocking chair.  Or browse around at books perfectly placed at their level.  Or they want to check out the games section.  Or the child-sized musical instruments.  Accordion anyone?  (Just know that once you are there, it is hard to get the kids to want to leave!)

Indigo Bridge Books Tree

Part of the tree that stands in the middle of the kids section at the store.

Maybe beyond playing, you want your kids to have a learning experience.  So you attend IndiZOO events – a unique experience that involves a special story time that features an animal story, craft and a live animal that comes to visit from the zoo!  (From personal experience, IndiZOO is a FUN morning!)  Or you want to attend one of three story times that feature books and crafts.  The Saturday morning one is even bilingual.

Indigo Bridge Books Local Sign

Or maybe you simply like the idea of a local bookstore that features a wide selection of books.  And numerous possibilities for growth and learning.  While they may not stock every published book, they will gladly order what you are missing.  They even have a book exchange.  A lovely place to settle in for an afternoon of coziness.

Indigo Bridge Books Poster

Whatever your reason, once you have visited Indigo Bridge Books, you will be back.  Check them out at their location in the Creamery Building (701 P St. in the Lincoln Haymarket).  Or visit them on Facebook to learn more.


Categories: Lincoln, Metro, Recommended Reading, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Friday Flashback: Using Quilts to Interpret Nebraska History

When pioneer women sewed quilts, they were not looking to write history.  They were simply piecing together warmth for their family.  While a few perhaps created for the sake of art, survival was more of their focus.

I had hoped to write about this topic last week right after I talked about the International Quilt Museum and Study Center.  As that ended up being multiple entries anyway, this post was put off.  But since quilts are such an important part of pioneer history and thus an integral part in the past of Nebraska, I decided this was an essential topic.  Once I began to research, I was surprised to see the name of one of the authors on the title of a book referencing this title.

This book cover photo is courtesy of Amazon.

Stephanie Grace Whitson has been a favorite author of mine for years.  She is a Nebraskan who has set many of her fictional stories in this state.  Since reading a novel is an enjoyable way to learn parts of history, I know that she has educated me on Nebraska’s past simply through her ability to tell a wonderful tale.  While the majority of books that I read I now check out from the library, I actually own all of her books.  At least I thought I did – evidently I was only managing to keep up with her fictional titles.

So, I checked out the title, Home on the Plains: Quilts and Sod House Experience, that she coauthored with her friend, Kathleen Moore.  And I am positive that the title will eventually find its way to my library.  What a delightful book!  Interspersed with the stories of hardy pioneer women are photographs of their quilts.  Reading diary excerpts of those who endured and helped to transform the barren land into the Nebraska of today reminded me of just what a challenge being a settler was.

The book is divided into three sections …

  1. Arriving
  2. Settling In
  3. Staying On
  4. Quilt Projects

You read correctly – if you are a quilter, patterns of eight pioneer quilt projects are included.    Complete with patterns, instructions and color photograph examples.  The authors actually quilted many of the examples themselves.  The research is meticulous, and the story is captivating.  I will soon be reading the book cover to cover.  If  you are not a quilter, the project section also includes the background story of each quilt, so that was even interesting to me.  Rather than me expounding on pioneer quilts, I am going to simply recommend that you get a copy of the book!

The book might just inspire you to want to learn even more about pioneer quilts in Nebraska,  Although I have not necessarily previewed these, here are some additional books specifically about the history of quilting in Nebraska.

Nebraska Quilts and Quiltmakers by Patricia Cox Crews and Ronald C. Naugle

A Prairie Homecoming by Mary Obrist (Nebraska State Quilt Guild)

Sod House Treasures and Other Nebraska Quilt Patterns by Jan Stehlik

The International Quilt Study Center and Museum also has excellent online resources for exploring more.  One of the quilters featured in the Home on the Plains book mentioned above is Grace Snyder.  A whole online exhibit has been developed telling the story of how she has influenced quilting in Nebraska.  They plan to add stories of more Nebraska quilters in the future.

Quilt Chronicles Collage

P.S. If you enjoy reading fiction like I do, Stephanie Grace Whitson’s current Quilt Chronicles series features quilts as a backdrop.  All three titles are written about  Southeastern Nebraska and explain varying aspects of the pioneer culture.  Based on experiences that were happening during the early settlements of the area, I would highly recommend each of them.  Wonderful books to read!  For a complete list of titles and to learn more about the author, please visit Stephanie Grace Whitson’s blog.


Categories: Flashback Fridays, Lincoln, Metro, Recommended Reading, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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