Arlo Guthrie and More Musings from Me

Arlo Guthrie and More Musings from Me

Here I am with another post sponsored by Omaha Performing Arts! If you’re sick of these, take heart in the fact that the season’s almost over, and if you’re not, then I will give you a high-five the next time I see you.

(Who am I kidding? I would probably high-five you no matter what.) Anyway…

Arlo Guthrie is playing in Omaha at the Holland Performing Arts Center in Kiewit Hall at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, April 28th, and I am really excited to see him play.

While, no, he hasn’t been someone I thought I’d see in concert, he’s definitely been a presence in my life for a very long time. My dad has always been a fan, and even named our dog, Arlo, after him. I can remember Thanksgiving car rides when NPR would play Guthrie’s famous “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” more than once. All day, maybe? I don’t remember for sure. Although, at the time, I was listening to Ace of Base and TLC on my discman and thinking “Ugh why Dad why,” I now appreciate how much my dad tried to acquaint me with the classics.

That’s what’s so special about this performance in particular; it’s Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant 50th Anniversary Tour.” He’ll be commemorating the anniversary by playing the song/monologue in its entirety, along with other songs from his library. The song itself is a monologue with a guitar backing that depicts a true story from Guthrie’s life, and was written as a protest of the Vietnam War.

I hope you guys will take advantage of this awesome chance to see a legend. I’ve gotten to see Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and B.B. King in concert, and I have to say that seeing the people who used to stare back at me from the album covers in my dad’s collection is an incredibly feeling.

(You can purchase tickets online at Ticket Omaha.)

(Seriously, you should go.)

Cherish the Ladies at the Holland Center

Cherish the Ladies at the Holland Center

When somebody asks me where I want to travel, my first thought is Ireland. Hands down. My mind fills with green and mist and legends, and I imagine myself frolicking among grassy hills and tiny cottages. I want to go to pubs and see literary landmarks… and I want to just sit with a mug of tea and stare out the window, absorbing as much of the landscape as I can with my eyes and heart.

And when I’m imagining this, there’s always a soundtrack. Fiddles, flutes, heart-shaking drums. Guhhhhh. I love it. I find that a traditional Irish tune with a rolling beat gets my adrenaline pumping faster than any of my favorite workout playlists, and one that is slow and heartfelt almost pushes me to tears.

Luckily for me, Omaha Performing Arts is bringing Cherish the Ladies, an all-female Irish-American ensemble, to Omaha, along with intricately beautiful music and traditional step dancers. What I find to be incredibly cool about this group is that it has been around for thirty years, collecting some of the most talented Celtic musicians in the country. They’re bringing their 30th anniversary concert on tour, and we get to enjoy it about a week before St. Patrick’s Day.

I can’t wait. Although I’ve found lately that I’m not a huge fan of sitting through instrumental concerts (I blame Netflix and my ever-waning attention span), I know this is going to be a special case. Just sitting and watching this video on Youtube has gotten me all worked up.

If this kind of music makes your heart flutter too, I hope you’ll join me in seeing them at the Kiewit Hall in the Holland Performing Arts Center on May 11th at 7:00 pm. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased online at Ticket Omaha, over the phone at 402-345-0606, or inside the Ticket Omaha office in the Holland Center at 1200 Douglas Street.

For Transparency’s Sake: I’m being compensated by Omaha Performing Arts for this post with two complimentary tickets to Cherish the Ladies. All rambling and sigh-punctuated words are my own.



When I was younger, there were certain items in my life that became fixtures. They were always there, and I remember registering them in my brain for most of my childhood… and then finally interacting with them.

My dad was a high school Theatre teacher when I was littler, and I remember seeing two video tapes on the bookshelf in his classroom: Live recordings of the Broadway musicals Sweeney Todd and Pippin. Sweeney Todd was in a heavy plastic black and red case, and Pippin was in an 80’s-tastic blue cardboard case, with a picture of a beautiful blonde man with long curly hair lying down on some kind of stone altar. (Watch, I’m going to go look it up now and it will have been something completely different than I remember.)



Yeah, okay. So I was mostly right.

When dad stopped teaching, the videos came home. (That sounded really dramatic… he just got a new job and brought his stuff home, nothing cryptic or anything.) I remember finally asking to see the shows, and watching Sweeney Todd about 5 million times. Pippin, however, I didn’t watch as much. I think that, despite its fantastical appearance, it was a much heavier show than Junior High Lauren was prepared for. I was pretty in to That 70’s Show at that time, so the philosophically heavy stuff was especially not on my radar.

I’m excited to see Pippin as an adult. I’ve done a little research on the plot, just to familiarize myself, and it sounds like the perfect thing to see right now. In Pippin, the title character is on a quest to find meaning in his life, and ends up discovering true happiness in an unexpectedly domestic setting. Now, that’s greatly simplifying things, but I don’t really want to give too much away.  In the meantime, I’ll leave you with the particulars, and fun video to watch.

Performances of Pippin at the Orpheum:

March 3, 4, 5 (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday) at 7:30 pm

Friday, March 6th at 8:00 pm

Saturday, March 7th at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm

Sunday, March 8th at 1:30 pm and 7:00 pm

Tickets are available at Ticket Omaha, by phone at 402-345-0606, or at the Ticket Omaha box office inside the Holland Performing Arts Center

Kids Night on Broadway

As part of a program designed to introduce kids from ages 9 to 18 to live Theatre, the Orpheum is offering a limited number of tickets at 50% off on the night of Tuesday, March 3rd. The limit is two tickets per adult, and can be obtained by using the code KIDS NIGHT at Ticket Omaha.

What is Pippin all about, anyway? (VIDEO)

Just so you know, I’ve been compensated by Omaha Performing Arts with two tickets to the performance of Pippin. All words and thoughts and nostalgic musings are mine!

Camelot + Orpheum = Me All Aflutter

Camelot + Orpheum = Me All Aflutter

(HEADS UP! I’m being compensated by Omaha Performing Arts with two complimentary tickets to Camelot, as well as two tickets to give away to you awesome dudes. All words and references to fainting couches are my own.)

I thought about writing a nice flowery intro for this one, but I changed my mind… I’m just diving right in.

I have a full-on THING for King Arthur. Not just Arthur himself, but also pretty much everything associated with him. Arthurian Lit was my 2nd favorite class of my entire undergrad experience, and, let me tell you, the King Arthur portion of Victorian Lit (my #1 favorite class) practically gave me the vapours.

I recently watched the entire series of Merlin on Netflix, and when it was over I was practically devastated.

Have you noticed the hyperbole? The italics? The use of the term “vapours?” I tend to get a little ridiculous when it comes to the Once and Future King.

SO, you can imagine my exclamation point usage when Omaha Performing Arts contacted me to go see and blog about the upcoming performance of Camelot at the Orpheum. It’s a newer version of the show everyone’s familiar with, and it looks a little dark and broody. I’m always up for dark and broody. So, let’s get down to business, shall we? Here’s the info about showtimes:

There will be 8 performances of Camelot at the Orpheum: Tuesday, January 27th, Wednesday, January 28th, Thursday, January 29th at 7:30 pm… Friday, January 30th at 8:00 pm… Saturday, January 31st at 2:00 pm AND 8:00 pm… Sunday, February 1st at 1:30 pm AND 7:00 pm. Tickets, which start at $35, are available online at, by phone at 402-345-0606, or at the Ticket Omaha Box Office in the Holland Center (click here for a map!).

(You guys, I don’t know why my font does that to numbers with a “th” on them. Ugh.)

Now that the official stuff is out of the way, we can get to the fun part… the part where I give away two free tickets to Camelot and you get the chance at seeing me fan my giddy self with a program a few rows away.  All you have to do is keep an eye on my Facebook page and answer the trivia questions that I will be posting this week and next. Each time you answer (whether it’s wrong or right) will count as an entry in the contest… so, you know… keep checking! I’ll keep the contest open until 10 pm CST on Thursday the 22nd, to give the winner enough time to find a babysitter/dogsitter/whatever-they-don’t-even-need-a-sitter.

If you want an extra entry, I’ve got a question for you: If you were in charge of casting a Camelot movie, who would be in your dream Arthurian Love Triangle? Let me know in the comments! Here are my choices:

King Arthur: Cary Elwes

Guinevere: Amy Yasbeck

Lancelot: Michael Vartan



(Psssst. If you want to enter EVEN MORE times, check out the other local bloggers who are participating in the giveaway: Kitty and Kevin, Her Heartland Soul)

Curtain & Pen Book Club!

Curtain & Pen Book Club!

I’m happy! I’m excited! I’m satisfied!

Something new has started on The Curtain and Pen’s Facebook page, and it seems to actually be working out.

Ladies and gents, I’m here today to introduce The Curtain & Pen Online Bookclub.

Every month and a half or so, an eager group of people from all over will be convening on that crazy Internet thing to chat about a book.  The beauty of this is that it’s always at 10 pm, and it’s always online, so you don’t have to put on fancy clothes, and the only bottle of wine you have to bring is the one that’s already on your counter… and you don’t have to share it with anyone.

Here’s the breakdown:

Step 1: Genre

To kick off a round of bookclub, I’ll start by throwing out three genres. Everyone will get about two days to vote for their genre of choice.

Step 2: Titles

Next, unless there are suggestions from club members, I’ll pick out three different titles from the winning genre. Another two days will pass to allow for clubbers to vote.

Step 3: Date

After we’ve got our book nailed down, I’ll follow tradition and throw out three possible dates… and two days of voting will ensue.


Now everyone has about 45 days to read a book. That’s totally doable, right?

Step 5: Log in and wait for my signal

I’ll sit around my computer till 10 pm CST and post an initial welcome post. Next, I’ll ask a few questions in the comments. You can reply to those specific comments to start discussing. Just for an idea on time, the trial run lasted for about an hour, with five people participating, but I’m willing to type till I start falling asleep at my laptop.

The beauty of this book club is that you can still participate, even if the date/time doesn’t work for you. You can always hop on and add your thoughts the next day, because it’s just chillin’ out on Facebook, happy as a clam. In fact, you can hop over right now to get an idea of what it’s all about.

Go forth! Read! Seriously, please join us!

Even with only having a handful of people participating, we had a fantastic time. We got together with friends from all over to chat about something we’d been reading together, and didn’t even have to change out of our comfy pants or clean the house. That’s just plain living the dream, right?

#OmahaFamilyDining, a Giveaway, and a Whole Lotta Mason Jars

#OmahaFamilyDining, a Giveaway, and a Whole Lotta Mason Jars

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert has designated October 19th-25th as “Family Dining Week” for the second year in a row, and is calling out to Omaha families to take the “Family Dining Pledge.” This pledge simply asks that you and your family commit to eating more home-prepared meals together… and taking the pledge will give you the chance to enter in giveaways with some pretty sweet prizes.


Speaking of prizes… Live Well Kids Omaha has given me a $15 Hy-Vee gift card (enough to cover one or two home-made meals) to one of my lucky, pledge-making readers!  All you have to do is hop on over to this link to make the pledge, then come back here and tell me about it in the comments! I’d love it if you’d share what your favorite meal is to have at home with your family, while you’re at it! I’ll randomly select a winner on Saturday the 25th!

I really wanted to have some meat to this blog post, in addition to the giveaway details… and thought maybe some meal-planning tips would be helpful. I think, though, that there will be plenty of tips in some of my fellow bloggers’ posts that would be far more efficient than mine. So, instead…


I think it’s time to fill you in on my Mason Jar journey.

Planning lunches has always been difficult for me. I can bust out a week’s dinner plan pretty easily, but half the time I forget that lunch even exists. I usually end up scrambling around last-minute to make my husband’s sandwiches, and then wind up eating the portion of macaroni and cheese that my kids didn’t polish off at lunch time. I think, though… I think I’ve found my solution.

Now, if you’ve ever fallen down the chevron-painted, pallet-studded rabbit-hole that is Pinterest, you’ll have noticed a few pictures of mason jars, artfully packed full of greens, vegetables, and very healthy-looking vinaigrettes. This, my friend, is what is known as a “mason jar salad…” or MJS if you feel like abbreviating things.

I’ve been eyeing these for a while now. The idea is that you buy, chop, cook, and pack a week’s worth of salad ingredients into these whimsical glass jars and enjoy the convenience and tastiness of a custom-designed salad every day of the work-week… without having to put forth any effort at the time.  About a month and a half ago, I decided to do it.  So far, I’ve successfully put together 10 salads for my husband and I three times out of those six weeks… and I’m calling that a success.

Rather than go through an entire step-by-step process (because my food photography is ABYSMAL, I want to share some really helpful MJS links, as well as a few of the things I’ve learned during this (still ongoing) process.

Basic breakdown, helpful links:

There’s a basic structure to these salads that’s the same in many posts:

  1. Dressing
  2. Hearty Vegetables
  3. Less-hearty Vegetables
  4. Protein
  5. Cheese
  6. Greens

What goes on between the hearty vegetables and the greens can vary according to the source, but your most important task is to separate the dressing from the greens. This will keep them from wilting.

Check out these posts from Simple Bites, Organize Yourself Skinny, and Popsugar. They’re pretty extensive in their directions, and much better at food writing than I. You can also follow my Pinterest board as I continue on my quest toward mason jar domination.

Things I’ve Learned:

– One 16 oz. clamshell of spinach and one 11 oz. clamshell of pre-washed romaine leaves (not hearts) seems to be the perfect amount of greens for ten salads; five for me, five for my husband.

– I appreciate the health benefits of spinach, but also need a little crunch in my salad… so I’ve found that the best solution is to get the pre-washed leaves of romaine (I use Earthbound Organic), rather than a bag of romaine mix or romaine hearts. The bag of mix never stays as fresh, and I do not have the time tear apart, wash, and dry those hearts.

Four medium sized boneless, skinless chicken breasts, baked in the oven, is the perfect amount for ten salads, plus one night of tacos when you heat up the leftover chicken with canned beans, corn, and seasoning.

– If I went back in time, I would get on the internet and find wide mouthed, quart-sized jars. I could only find pint-and-a-half wide mouthed jars in the store, so I bought them… because patience is not my strong-suit. When I pack a pint-and-a-half jar totally full for my husband, it’s just the right amount of food… but he has to dump it into a separate container in order to actually eat it. I imagine that if I put the same amount in a quart jar with a wide mouth, I’d be able to mix it all up with a good shake, AND eat right out of the jar.

My first ingredient after the dressing is always the onions. I’ve found that, when they’re chilling out in the dressing, they don’t fill the whole jar with the taste/smell of onion. Not that that’s a bad thing… I suppose it depends on your feelings about onions.

Don’t try to spread this process out. I like to cook my meats (usually chicken and 1 lb. of bacon) in the morning and chop/assemble ingredients in the afternoon. Try to set aside a solid chunk of time to get all of your salads put together, rather than work on it all day long. I tried that the first week, and I ended up with three partially assembled salads and a bunch of ingredients in my fridge.



Someday, I’ll sit down and write a for-real MJS post with actual pictures, I promise. In the meantime, I hope the links and my tips are helpful, and I genuinely hope you take the Family Dining Pledge!

Also, if you’re interested, you can heck out a few of the other participating bloggers:

CoolestMommy, Liv Laugh Love, Sensory Mama Saving Cents, Mom Saves Money, Making Mine, Oh My! Omaha, Family Fun in Omaha

Real Talk:

I was contacted by Live Well Kids Omaha to blog about Omaha Family Dining Week. I am being compensated with a $15 Hy-Vee gift card, as well as one to give away to one of my readers. I was also compensated  with a fresh, homemade batch of warm-fuzzies.