The True Story of the Three Little Pigs at The Rose!

I attended a complimentary preview of this show at The Rose Theater.

The Rose Theater is an Omaha treasure. The Rose puts on the most wonderful children’s theater performances and our family enjoyed everything about it last year! The talent is top notch, the stories are unique and fun, and the whole family can enjoy the music, humor, and beautiful theater atmosphere.

I really didn’t think I could love The Rose more, but then yesterday happened. They took one of my very favorite children’s books and performed as a musical. I died from happiness. And now I’m sharing it with you.

First, please tell me you and your children have read The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka. If not, I’ll wait while you go order it from Amazon or request it from your library. Go ahead. No, really. Do it.

I fell in love with this brilliant children’s book as a child and I still have so much of it memorized. Scieszka cleverly tells the the story of the three little pigs from the wolf’s perspective. It is just delightful.

Take that delightfully clever story, add 60s-style clothes and music, and involve the audience in the performance as the jury for the Big Bad Wolf’s trial, and that is the magic we witnessed at The Rose yesterday! The five-member ensemble cast took us on a captivating journey into the courtroom of Judge Juris Prudence (HA!) where the Mr. Wolf is getting a not-so-fair trial from the pig-biased judge and prosecutor.

The little man and I had so much fun following the story of Alexander T. Wolf (left) as told by courtroom reporter Lillian McGill (right). These two are rockstars, with amazing voices, great dance moves, and lots of hilarity! Lil McGill keeps the audience engaged and informed throughout so they can decide what will happen to Al in the end – is Mr. Wolf guilty or not guilty? The kids went crazy when they got to chime in and celebrated as the cast sang about their verdict – NOT GUILTY! The fun part – each show could end differently based on what the audience decides!

The show is recommended for families of children ages six and up, but my 4.5 year old loved it, too! The show is approximately 60 minutes long without an intermission.

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs at the Rose Theater runs January 27 through February 12, with performances on Fridays at 7 pm, Saturdays at 2 pm and 5 pm, and Sundays at 2 pm. Tickets are $20. Discount ticket vouchers are available at all area Hy-Vee stores. Members of The Rose receive four free tickets to the production.

I have FOUR TICKETS TO GIVE AWAY today!

That’s right! One of you will win four tickets to the show of your choice (based on availability)! Just leave a comment below answering this question: Do you think Alexander T. Wolf, aka The Big Bad Wolf, is GUILTY or NOT GUILTY of intentionally killing the piggies? Do you think you’ll change your mind once you hear HIS side of the story?

You can also earn extra entries by sharing this post on Facebook and Twitter!

CLICK HERE TO TWEET THIS >> The True Story of the Three Little Pigs is at @RoseTheaterCo! Win 4 tickets from @homewiththeboys!

Just leave an extra comment for each way you share the post on social media! This giveaway runs through Monday, January 30th at 8PM CST. One winner will be chosen at random and notified via email.

*****

The True Story of The Three Little Pigs is sponsored by Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, Nebraska Furniture Mart, Baird Holm, the Nebraska Arts Council and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment. Special opening night activities are sponsored by Kiewit Companies.

SPECIAL NOTE: The 2 pm show on Saturday, Feb. 4 will be interpreted for people who are deaf or hard of hearing; the 5 pm show on Saturday, Feb. 4 is designated as sensory-friendly, with special accommodations made for families attending with a child on the autism spectrum. The 2 pm show on Saturday, Feb. 11 will include audio description services for audience members who are blind. Contact The Rose Box Office at (402) 345-4849 for more information.

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Sharing Music for the Holidays! (Giveaway)

This post is part of the #ShareTheHolidays campaign with Omaha Performing Arts. I received two free show tickets. All opinions are 100% my own!

Nothing gets me in the mood for the holidays more than music. Once Thanksgiving is over, Christmas music is playing in our home 24/7. As a music teacher, I made it my personal mission to make sure all my students knew just about every classic Christmas song under the sun. Now I do the same with our children and I even made a printable for families to use for learning a Christmas song per day during December!

The Christmas music lover in me is THRILLED with the holiday lineup from Omaha Performing Arts this year! Just take a look at this amazing schedule:

  • The Brian Setzer Orchestra 12th Annual Christmas Rocks! Tour – Sunday, November 15, at 7:00 PM, Orpheum Theater, Slosburg Hall.
  • Vienna Boys Choir – Christmas in Vienna – Thursday, November 19, at 7:30 PM, Holland Performing Arts Center, Kiewit Concert Hall.
  • Cyrus Chestnut Trio – A Jazzy Christmas Wednesday – December 2, at 7:30 PM, Holland Center, Scott Recital Hall (1200 Club performance – a night club setting).
  • A Celtic Tenors Christmas – Wednesday, December 2, at 7:30 PM, Holland Performing Arts Center, Kiewit Concert Hall. 
  • Michael McDonald – This Christmas, An Evening of Holiday & Hits – Friday, December 4, 8:00 PM, Holland Center, Kiewit Hall.
  • Joyful Noise – A Gospel Christmas featuring Salem Baptist Church – Sunday, December 6, 4:00 PM & 7:00 PM, Holland Center, Kiewit Hall.

Yes, please. To all of the above!

To go along with these wonderful holiday events, the Shine the Light on Hunger campaign runs November 1 through December 31 at several Omaha venues, including the Orpheum Theater and Holland Center. People attending concerts at these locations can bring non-perishable food items, which will benefit the Food Bank for the Heartland!

BSO_ChristmasAdmat_Everywhere

The Hubby and I will be heading to see the Brian Setzer Orchestra 12th Annual Christmas Rocks! Tour next weekend! I can’t wait to hear his take on holiday music and I can’t wait for a date night with The Hubby! I think this calls for a fun holiday dress, right?!

We would love to have you join us for the Brian Setzer Orchestra on Sunday, November 15th, so we’re giving away two tickets! Just leave a comment with your favorite Christmas song and I’ll pick a winner this Sunday evening at 9PM CST!

Which of these shows would you most love to see?

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Pete the Cat: The Musical! {Giveaway}

This weekend, my guys will head to The Rose Theater to experience a whole new kids’ musical that debuted here in Omaha just last week and I know they will totally love it! How do I know? Double J and I got a sneak peek last Friday!

IMG_0094

Pete the Cat: The Musical is based on the beloved character of the same name from the children’s books. He’s a rockin’ and rollin’ blue cat and, in the musical, Pete and his friends are headed to their first day of kindergarten. Their day is filled with new experiences, lots of fun, and great music!

i-3DCkH8q-X3

The show covers a wide range of topics relevant to kids, particularly emotions and colors, but the music is what will captivate your whole family! While the story will appeal mostly to preschoolers and early elementary age children, the quality of the music and vocal performances are top notch and will be appreciated by everyone. It delights me so much when something intended for children is of the highest quality – they deserve the best, too!

Shoes

And all of this is why we love The Rose! Great theater experiences for kids are hard to find, but not here in Omaha. With most performances running around an hour, even our three-year-old is able to pay attention to and enjoy the whole show. The Rose also adds extra special touches just for the kids: booster seats, post-show Q&A, and the most delightful atmosphere! For all of these reasons, we didn’t hesitate to get a family membership for this year and I know we will enjoy every single show.

i-2FxxxTM-X2

Pete the Cat: The Musical started last weekend at The Rose, but it runs through September 27th and we want to help your family experience it! You can grab your tickets for $18 each or you can find ticket vouchers at your local HyVee for just $14 each! After getting your vouchers, you will need to make reservations directly with The Rose.

OR you could WIN four tickets to see Pete the Cat: The Musical right here!

Just leave a comment on this post telling me who you would love to take to see Pete the Cat: The Musical! For extra entries, share this giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter and leave a separate comment tell me how you shared!

This giveaway will close Thursday, September 17th at noon CST to give the winner time to make reservations for the show of their choice!

Who is ready to groove with Pete the Cat? Do you already have plans to attend?

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

It’s a Healthy Thing at Smoothie King!

This is a sponsored post for Smoothie King. I was compensated for this post, but all opinions are 100% my own!

I have a thing for smoothies. REAL smoothies. The kind made with fruit, not syrups and added sugar.

Turns out we have a great new place in Omaha that feels the same way about smoothies! I had the fun privilege of joining a group of Omaha bloggers to try out a huge variety of the awesome smoothies offered by Smoothie King!

IMG_7805

Smoothie King has been around since 1973, but they just made their way to 90th and Center in Omaha two months ago and I’m thrilled they are here!

Smoothie King Collage

Before we even tried a smoothie, I noticed that Smoothie King is not just about smoothies – they are all about all-around health. The store has an active lifestyle theme, from the decor to the additional health food items sold in the store. Their motto is, “Smoothies with a purpose.” And that purpose is supporting a healthy lifestyle for Smoothie King customers! I love that!

Now about those smoothies, because we all know that’s the main event here…

Smoothie King Omaha

We got to try NINE different smoothie flavors during our night at Smoothie King. I honestly liked all nine of them, but I most definitely had my favorites! Here are the flavors we tried:

  • Angel Food = banana + strawberry (Smoothie King’s #1 seller)
  • Mangofest = orange + mango + pineapple
  • Lemon Twist Strawberry = strawberry + lemon + papaya (skinny version)
  • Almond Mocha High Protein = coffee
  • Chocolate Gladiator with Peanut Butter and Banana = choose two fruits or one + peanut butter + either chocolate, strawberry or vanilla protein)
  • Berry Carrot Dream = carrots + orange + apple + strawberry + banana
  • Pineapple Surf = pineapple + strawberry + kiwi
  • The Hulk Vanilla = butter pecan ice cream + banana
  • Peach Papaya Greek Yogurt = just what the name says!

So here’s a funny thing: Smoothie King’s #1 seller (Angel Food) and the taste testers’ favorite of the night (The Hulk Vanilla) were my two least favorite – and they were still delicious! I loved all of the others, but I was particularly fond of the Lemon Twist Strawberry which was made “skinny,” which means they left out the turbinado sugar and saved me 100 calories!

Smoothie King Samples

I didn’t think I would care for the Berry Carrot Dream, but it was seriously yummy. Anything coffee is always a hit for me, so the Almond Mocha was fabulous. And my smoothie go-to – chocolate, peanut butter, and banana – did not disappoint! We also got a sneak preview of the new Greek yogurt smoothies coming to Smoothie King in July – I’m a BIG fan of Greek yogurt in my smoothies!

Smoothie King Up Close

The point is you just can’t go wrong with a smoothie from Smoothie King! They will have something just for you – vegan, kale, fitness, high protein, every kind of fruit – the list goes on and on! Each smoothie comes in three sizes – 20 oz, 32 oz, and 40 oz. There are also 12 oz smoothies just for the kids! 25 of the smoothies offered at Smoothie King are under 300 calories for a 20 oz!

Smoothie King SizesYou really need to visit Smoothie King for yourself to experience all the goodness, but I have one more thing to convince you to stop by…

Smoothie King Drive-Thru

That’s right – DRIVE-THRU! And there was much rejoicing from all the parents, am I right?! A healthy drive-thru option is a reason to cheer for me!

IMG_7789

I know you’re ready to hop in your car to head to Smoothie King, so let me help you out – I’ve got a $50 gift card to the Omaha store to give away to one of you! To enter, leave a comment with which smoothie flavor you can’t wait to try! For extra entries, follow Smoothie King on Twitter and/or Instagram and tweet the following message:

[Tweet “A $50 gift card to @smoothiekingoma?! I’m in! Enter to win here: #smoothiekingomaha #omaha”]

Make sure you leave a separate comment for each entry! This giveaway closes Friday, June 26th at 9PM CST! 

So what flavor will you try first?!

 

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Mary Poppins + The Rose

I received tickets to Mary Poppins from the Rose in exchange for this review. I was not compensated in any other way for this review and all opinions are 100% my own.

I wrote last month about my return to the world of musical theatre – watching, not acting – with the amazing musical, Once, at the Orpheum. Last Friday night, I had the pleasure of taking my boys along for a magical musical journey when we attended Mary Poppins at the Rose!

IMG_7888

The Rose is a performing arts theater in Omaha focused on enriching the lives of children and their families through live theater and arts education. They strive to make the arts accessible to all children, with shows for all ages and programs to provide tickets for low-income families. Each season at the Rose features seven shows, plus two premium shows such the one we attended last week!

FullSizeRender 33

The actual theater building is magical on its own, with beautifully sculpted interiors, gorgeous decor, and a ceiling that changes from clouds to stars with fun lighting. Just being in the theater is an experience, but we were in for a bigger treat when our show began!

We’re big fans of Mary Poppins, but the stage musical varies a bit from the movie with which we’re so familiar. That wasn’t a concern at all because the songs we love so much – “Feed the Birds,” “Spoonful of Sugar,” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” and more – were still there and the new ones were delightful as well!

The cast was all local actors and the talent was amazing! The boys were agreed on their favorite cast member – Michael – and song – “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” They were able to meet “Michael” afterwards and this gracious 11-year-old was kind enough to give them each an autograph on their kids’ programs!

My favorites were the same as my favorites in the movie. Bert was just as Bert should be – charming, fun, wise, and a great dancer. And I’ve always been a sucker for a great group dance number, so I was totally won over by “Step in Time.” I especially loved the tap and the boys loved the special effects that had Bert dancing on the ceiling!

Remember how I mentioned I cried during Once? I actually had tears in my eyes during several of the big group dance numbers at Mary Poppins! And they weren’t even sad songs! There is just something about seeing a group singing and dancing so well together that gets me all emotional. I’d call that a sign of a wonderful performance!

FullSizeRender 34

The Rose has so many extra little things that make the night special for families. The kids received programs as they entered with a plot summary and tons of fun activities to go with the show! Little J was thankful for the free booster seat that helped him see better from his spot!

FullSizeRender 32

Before the show and during intermission, kids are welcome to look down into the orchestra pit to watch the musicians prepare for the show.

IMG_7891

At intermission of the two premier shows, there are chocolate chips cookies, bottled water, and pop available for $1 each! It was the perfect little treat in between acts! And at the end of the show, actors are available for Q&A with the kids and autographs!

IMG_7901

Before we even went to Mary Poppins, our family had purchased a membership for next season and we are all so excited to use it! A family membership to the Rose is just $95 and includes 4 tickets to each of the seven regular season shows. With your membership, you also receive discounts on the two premium shows of the season and classes, member-only opportunities for backstage tours and show-themed family classes, and a free member day! This is an amazing deal for such great exposure to the arts for the whole family!

Mary Poppins runs Friday and Saturday nights, along with Saturday and Sunday afternoons through June 28th. Purchase your tickets now and take the whole family!

 

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Vino Van Gogh: Paint + Sip Fun with Friends (Giveaway!)

I received tickets to this even from Vino Van Gogh in exchange for a review. I was not compensated in any other way for this post and all opinions are 100% my own!

I’ve seen people I know doing these canvas painting parties all over the place and coming home with the most beautiful creations to hang in their homes. It looked like fun, but I had never tried it myself, so I jumped at the chance to attend a Vino Van Gogh event here in Omaha with one of my best friends!

Vino Van Gogh is different than most canvas painting classes because places because they hold their events at popular restaurants, so when you order food and drink you’re getting it from a place like J.Coco or Nosh or, in our case, Nebraska Brewing Company! When you look at the Vino Van Gogh event calendar, you can see the location of the event as well as what the painting will be for that night. I chose our event based on both the location and the painting – we were thrilled with both!

I knew this would be the perfect thing to do with my dear friend, Val – a relaxing night for two busy mamas who don’t get to see each other often enough! We chose the Vino Van Gogh event at Nebraska Brewing Company and the painting “Cherry Blossoms.” It was fun and relaxing and we enjoyed it so much! Here are a few highlights from the evening:

Vino Van Gogh Collage 1

Vino Van Gogh Collage 2

Your registration for the event includes the cost of the class and all supplies. Drinks and food are not included, but each location offers their own specials for Vino Van Gogh participants! I’m not a wine drinker, but I did enjoy some yummy food after we were done painting!

Vino Van Gogh Group

One of the most fun parts of this evening was seeing all the different interpretations of the same original painting! Carl was a great teacher who both taught us and encouraged us to make the paintings our own. I love watching people be creative, whether it comes naturally or not!

IMG_7125

Our finished masterpieces! Mine is now hanging in the hallway as both beautiful art and a great memory with a wonderful friend!

Vino Van Gogh Giveaway

If you’re in the Omaha area and have been wanting to try a Vino Van Gogh event, you’re in luck because I’m giving away two tickets to the event of your choice!

To enter, just tell me in the comments the last time you did any kind of art! For extra entries, you can like Vino Van Gogh-Omaha on Facebook and tweet this message:

Tweet: Win 2 tickets to the #vinovangogh event of your choice in #omaha from @homewiththeboys! #giveaway http://ctt.ec/FlaPX+

Leave a separate comment for each entry! This giveaway will close Friday, May 22nd at 9PM CST! One random winner will be notified by email!

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

The Night at the Theater That Recaptured My Heart

I received the tickets for this show from Omaha Performing Arts, but I was not asked to write a post in exchange for them. I just couldn’t help myself.

I’ve always been a lover of musical theater. The first show I saw was a tour of Phantom of the Opera in Minneapolis during high school and I was mesmerized. Phantom is not my favorite musical of all time, but you never forget your first show experience.

There have been many more memorable musical theater experiences since that first one, with Les Miserables in London and The Lion King in Las Vegas topping the list. As music majors in college, we went to shows in our area all the time. But with kids and life, we haven’t been to many shows in the last few years.

I didn’t realize how much I missed live musical theater until last night.

Omaha Performing Arts gave me two tickets to the first night of Once, a musical that tells the enchanting tale of a Dublin street musician who’s about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs. Once was actually a movie first and became well-known because of it’s Oscar-winning song, “Falling Slowly.” I’m pretty sure you’ve heard it. It was then made into a stage production and won EIGHT Tony awards in 2012.  From what I had heard, I was sure it would be a good show.

IMG_7014

Good is not an adequate or accurate word to describe what I experienced watching Once. From the moment my good friend and I walked in to the musicians jamming on stage pre-show, we were in awe. They weren’t like actors up there – they were musicians playing their own music and drawing me in to the show.

Once

 

photo credit: Joan Marcus

I found myself holding my breath from the beauty of the music several times during the show. Irish influence, a cappella, raw love songs – there was a little bit of everything in Once and I wanted more of all of it. When the first act ended with the singing and dancing of the song Gold, I had chills and tears and all the feelings.

Once Tour 1005 Small

 

photo credit: Joan Marcus

I fell in love with live musical theater again last night. Once was everything musical theater should be and everything I had been missing but didn’t even realize. Captivating melodies, GORGEOUS harmonies, soulful dancing, and acting that made me feel almost like I was interrupting someone’s real-life private moments.

** I feel like I should mention there is language that may offend some people, including several f-words. I am not a fan of foul language, but it did not turn me off from the musical at all. Just wanted to throw that out there. **

I may have been in my own city watching this musical, but I was transported to my past experiences in London and Vegas and Minneapolis and so on. And it was pretty great to experience it with one of my dearest friends for her birthday!

IMG_7015

If you need me, I’ll be looking for more opportunities to head to the theater with my hubby, my kids, my friends – anybody who wants to go – because it has recaptured my heart and I can’t get enough.

Are you a musical theater fan? What was your most memorable musical theater experience?

If you want to see Once in Omaha now through May 17, 2015, get your tickets here. And if you’re NOT in Omaha, follow @OnceMusical on Twitter to find out when they might be near you and GET YOURSELF THERE.

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Art Works for Your Kids!

Omaha has so many amazing things to offer for families! At the top of that list is the Joslyn Art Museum. Thanks to a grant starting last year, museum admission is now free, with the exception of the featured traveling exhibit.

We’ve always loved the Joslyn, but our love has grown with the addition of Art Works, a 1,500 square foot interactive space where kids can experience the visual arts!

Art Works

Art Works features nine stations where kids can paint, draw, build, and create art of all kinds! This permanent space offers new experiences with each visit as stations are updated to go along with current museum exhibits! During our latest visit, the focus was on Georgia O’Keeffe’s Flowers!

Art Works 1

The digital painting stations are a big hit with all of the kids!

Art Works 8

Art Works 4

Double J would paint there with real brushes (and no mess) for hours – every mom’s dream! All of the boys enjoyed this, especially when they realized they could email me their creations, like this one:

Masterpiece

Isn’t that fun?! They were so proud of their masterpieces and my inbox filled up quickly!

Art Works 6

The portrait station is super fun! You can use the mirror to draw a self portrait or the transparent side to draw a portrait of a friend! Or just draw around the oval like Double J.

Art Works 7

I personally love the pottery station where kids can draw on vases with dry erase markers! It’s brilliant! The station has photographs of ancient pottery for inspiration. I think I enjoyed drawing on these vases as much as the kids did!

But the biggest hit with all of us was…

Art Works 3

…the stop motion animation station! Seriously – this was SO MUCH FUN! The station has two computers with two different backgrounds and tons of figurines to use.

Art Works 2
The boys were so creative once they figured out how to put together a movie. I love this exposure to an art form they wouldn’t normally experience! They were also able to send their finished videos to me by email so we can enjoy them over and over.

Art Works Collage
I haven’t even touched on all of the great stations in Art Works – sketching, wooden building blocks, and lots more! We’ve been twice and will be going back frequently to create and explore. And remember – it’s FREE! If you live in the Omaha area or you’re visiting, make sure you take your kids to the Joslyn for all this interactive art fun!

What kind of art does your child enjoy? Which stations would they like at Art Works?

By the way, this is NOT a sponsored post and I was NOT asked to write this post by the Joslyn Art Museum – we just love it and I wanted to share it with you!

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook