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Monday, February 27, 2012

pop-we Dinner Club Reviews Grisanti's

Grisanti's in Omaha.
This month  population-we™ (pop-we) foodie Caryn picked Grisanti’s. Grisanti’s is an Italian restaurant located at 10875 West Dodge Road in Omaha, NE. Originally started in Louisville, KY under the name of Mamma Grisanti. Winning awards and popularity for their hospitality and made from scratch food. Currently there are two locations in Nebraska.

As you walk through the door you come to a host stand. There is a bar with a seating area and dining rooms to the right and left. Tonight we had eight people and sat at the end of the ramp off to the right. One side of the table was a long bench seat (like a booth) and the other side was chairs.

Caryn and Randy ordered the mushroom appetizer, which was delicious. It was mushroom caps stuffed with pork, veal, spinach with a Parmesan cream sauce. You receive unlimited bread that is placed upon a little pedestal with a candle underneath to keep it warm. One group member kept commenting that no one should eat the bread because it was horrible -- so he could eat it all by himself…the bread is excellent. 

Fresh Grisanti's bread.
I ordered the portabella chicken, which is a grilled chicken breast topped with a  portabella mushroom and provolone cheese served with a side of herbed demi glace and creamy spinach orzo.  I liked the chicken with mushroom, which was very tasty. I did not care for the spinach orzo, to me it did not have much flavor, so it brought down the dish.

After compiling the surveys from the other foodies the pop-we Dinner Club gives Grisanti’s : 4.18 star average on a scale of 1-5.

Atmosphere/Decor - 4

Cleanliness – 4.37

Wait Staff - 4.25

Menu – 4.25

Food Presentation - 4

 Food Portions – 4.6

Food Taste – 4.12

Cost (was the cost worth meal?) – 4

Noise Level – 4.12

Overall Experience – 4.12

You can see more regarding menu and catering services on their website at

Fellow population-we™ readers, if you’ve been to the Grisanti’s leave us a comment and tell us what you thought?

Want to do this yourself? To review how to start your own dinner club, visit our January post about doing just that. Remember it is a template; tweak it to fit you and your friends’ tastes. pop-we Dinner Club: good food…good friends…good times.
Grisanti's Restaurant on Urbanspoon
-population-we™ blog post by Brian Brown
© 2012 population-we, LLC 
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Monday, February 20, 2012

2012 World Thinking Day Is Feb. 22

Girls from across the globe will come together on a single day -- Wednesday, Feb. 22 -- to celebrate World Thinking Day (WTD). The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) will embrace the theme for 2012: "We can save our planet." This theme is based on the United Nation's Millennium Development Goal 7 focused on environmental sustainability. First held in 1926, this global celebration encourages girls to honor international friendships and reminds them that they are part of a larger global community.

I know something about global friendships. I was lucky enough to go to a high school in which many backgrounds were represented. My best friend was from Vietnam and my locker partner was from Japan. I also had high school friends from China, Africa, Egypt and Afghanistan. The real treat was our senior year and the bountiful graduation parties. I got introduced to cuisine from around the world. My first real glimpse into another culture did not come from these face-to-face friendships with my international friends but through a pen pal program. My Sophomore year at Benson my locker partner asked if I wanted to be a pen pal. I agreed. My name was given to the Association of Pen Friend Clubs of Japan. I didn't just get one pen pal but got five Japanese pen pals: Akiko, Megumi, Meiko, Nako and Shoko.

My pen pal letters from Japan.
In 1987, there were 140,000 members of the Pen Friends Clubs in Japan which we participated in. According to Association literature: "Get your friends to join us! They [Pen Friends] are very eager to get their mates in foreign countries in correspondence so that they widen their knowledge in various phases of life build up personal ties between Japan and foreign countries." We were pen friends, made up chiefly of senior and junior high school students, in foreign countries. We exchanged letters all my years of high school. During that time, we learned of each others family pets, siblings, schooling, reading habits, favorite sports, TV shows and movies. Some would even send me post cards from their family vacations. I became the closest with Naoko. I found myself running to the mailbox to see if I had a letter from her often. One instance, she sent a picture of a doll show she attended. On another, she made and sent me an origami doll, which I display in a shadow box to this day.

Today my international friendships continue. Working at a university, I've been a mentor to numerous college students. My most recent mentee is an international student from Dhaka, Bangladesh: Lulu Ferdous. We've shared stories about our cultures and she has met my family. In her country safety is the biggest concern for girls and women. She told me "feeling safe" is the one thing she likes most about living in America. In Bangladesh, they are diligent to get home before it gets dark. Our most lively conversation came when we discussed how we are both very afraid of spiders. My most cherished gift is a homemade bag from Bangladesh she gave me for my birthday. I'm proud to report she recently graduated and earned a bachelor's degree in aviation.

I also have a connection to the Girl Scouts. My mom was a Girl Scout leader, while my sister was a Girl Scout Brownie. I was too young, but was given the designation by the troupe as a, Girl Scout Pixie. Til this day, I still remember some of the songs we sang at Brownie meetings.

In conjunction with this day girls will participate in activities and projects with global themes to honor their sister Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in other countries. WAGGGS offers activity packets with ideas for celebrating WTD, and to learn more about the environment. They also offer template letters to lobby decision-makers on saving the planet. WTD not only gives girls a chance to celebrate international friendships, but is also a reminder that Girl Scouts of the U.S. is part of a global community—one of nearly 150 countries.

On Feb. 11, University of Nebraska at Omaha international students hosted a World Thinking Day event. They offered display tables featuring games, crafts, music, clothing and other traditions from their host countries. Girl Scouts and their families learned how to use chopsticks and to count and spell their names in foreign languages. Participants used passports to log their journey throughout the day. UNO international students from China, Ecuador, India, Japan, Mexico, Mongolia, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam, were among the countries that participated.

Friendships come from the most unlikely places. So take this opportunity to use resources to find friends from around the world. With the Internet, today friendships with others are only a click away. If you're a girl or know a girl in your life take Feb. 22 to be kinder to the planet and to get to know about someone else's culture. Like me you'll be glad you did.
(Editor's note: pop-we eco-living endorses this program,WTD.)
-population-we™ blog post by Becky Bohan Brown 
© 2012 population-we, LLC 
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Monday, February 13, 2012

Step 3: Take this Post to Heart about Heart Disease

February is American Heart Month. About every 25 seconds, an American will have a coronary event, and every minute a person will die from it. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and is a major cause of disability. This week is Valentine's Day and Brian & I hope our population-we™ readers will take this post to heart.

Know Your Numbers
Living a healthier lifestyle and knowing your numbers (weight, blood pressure, cholesterol) can help combat this disease. Don't know your numbers? Request them from your health care professional on your next visit. If budget is an issue, take advantage of health fairs at your work and in your community. To help combat heart disease, Walgreens is offering free blood pressure checks this month. Walgreens will also donate $1 to the American Heart Association as part of its Way to Well Commitment.

Pay Attention to Family History
Another key component to this ongoing battle is knowing and doing something about your family history. Most people lives have been touched by heart disease, Brian & I families are no different. What follows is our accounts with heart disease.

My Grandpa Bohan was a retired farmer. Like most, he worked hard but ate a diet high in saturated fat. He raised cattle for a while -- so beef was always prevelent. In his 60s, he would have his first glimpse of heart disease, when he received his first pacemaker. He did become more active and adopted a healthier diet. He would walk around the lake in town daily and begun to eat everything in moderation. I can always remember grandpa checking his blood pressure and eating a cantelope, bannana and grapefruit. However, in his 80s he would be diagnoised with congestive heart failure. Not giving up. Now, he added a supplement into his diet and metamucil. He would have another pacemaker put in at 89, which enabled him to go on a family reunion to his homeland of Ireland. He lived a long life full of weddings, vacations, graduations and birth announcements. Heart disease took my Grandpa Bohan at 96 years of age.

Eat Healthy
The biggest step and best weapons in the fight against heart disease is a healthy diet. The American Heart Association offers guidelines to help make smart choices to benefit your heart and your overall health. Visit their Nutrition Center for details.

Embrace a Positive Outlook
Eating healthy is key but having a postive outlook is even more important. I just wanted to share what anyone at any age can start implementing so you can have a long prosperous life like my grandpa. Grandpa Bohan found the teachings of Dean Ornish, M.D., helpful in living with heart disease.

Dr. Ornish offers advice on the power of positive imagery, which the doctor provides in his award-winning book. The key is imagine yourself as a healthy person. Here's Dr. Ornish's ideas for envisioning a long healthy life for yourself:

  •  Imagine the way you'll look and sound when your older;
  •  The activities you'll participate in;
  •  The hugs of friends and family in the future;
  •  The taste of your favorite drink as you relax;
  •  Watch a sunset and reflect on your long life; and
  •  Add more detail to include images of: a healthy heart shape, a sharp alert mind, very strong muscles and a ready smile.

Get Active
Chose not to be a couch potato. Brian & I joined a new gym in September. More recently we committed to participate in our gym's Urban Active (UA) "Get Active Challenge." I know for us both -- our motivation comes from knowing what quality of life Grandpa Bohan and Uncle Luigi (Brian's uncle who passed away at age 45 from heart disease) both had. So, thanks to other bloggers in the challenge and support from the head UA trainer JB Bowen; Brian and I are choosing a heart healthy diet and more active lifestyle.

No matter what, remember Foo Fighters, "One of these days your heart will stop and play its final beat." It is up to you, what steps you take to preserve a healthy you in the coming decades. We welcome population-we™ readers to join us in our next step. Step 3, chose a more active and heart healthy lifestyle.
(Editor's note:  Brian & I are not health care professionals. This post is our opinion on how our readers can embrace a more heart healthy lifestyle. This is the third in a series of blog posts about UA's Get Active Challenge. )
-population-we™ blog post by Becky Bohan Brown and Brian Brown
© 2012 population-we, LLC 
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Monday, February 6, 2012

CHANCE: Changing How Adults Nurture Children’s Egos in Domestic Violence

Christina Dalpiaz
Do you believe that people can change for the better? Christina Dalpiaz does. Working in a high burnout field, it is her belief that people can change that continues to motivate her. She said, “People change when they are given new tools that work. I watch transformation every single day. That's what makes this job so great. People often say that my line of work has to be hard but I say it is great as I see them make their lives better for the sake of their children. One father told me that he was abusing his family after a one-day class, said he didn't want to do that anymore and entered into therapy with me. When all you have is a hammer the world looks like a nail. Give them more tools. They'll use them.”

I first learned of Christina Dalpiaz and her organization CHANCE (Changing How Adults Nurture Children’s Egos) when I watched the last part of an interview on a local cable access program where she fielded thoughtful questions by Kent Pavelka, a broadcast journalist in Nebraska. Dalpiaz had a sincere and nonjudgmental demeanor towards the parents who were willing to learn replacement skills to keep custody of their children. As I am aware that many children get lost in state welfare systems, I believe a program that helps keep children in their own homes where possible is vital.

Through her work with CHANCE and other organizations, Dalpiaz works to stop or to prevent Domestic Violence. For the sake of children, Dalpiaz wants to drive home the message the violence in the home is socially unacceptable. Her program focuses on treating the whole family. According to her, you cannot fix one part of the family while the other is broken. Her program teaches replacement skills and healthy habits for healthy homes. Regarding the approach to treat the entire family she said, “We believe the whole family needs treatment and education as nothing changes when one part of the system is ‘fixed’ and the other is still ‘broken.’ There has been a debate that it is a punishment to enforce treatment but if you don't then the victims leaves the relationship and continues finding others who abuse them and the perpetrators find other victims. This only creates more victims and victim children.”

Severe cases of violence may be a result of waiting too long to help a family according to Dalpiaz. The philosophy of her approach is that everyone wants control and power and with the right tools they can learn to be heard in a healthy way and have their needs met without abusing others. In 30 years of treating others she can count on one hand the number of people who did not change. This is a powerful testament to her of most people having a good human nature. Those with poor role models often can break the cycle of abuse with the right help.

To prevent abusive relationships before they start, Ms. Dalpiaz is involved with a group called SAFE (Stay Alert, Fun and Engaged). She describes the group as an empowerment program to help women select partners, friends, and jobs that lead to a healthy life.

I recently purchased Here’s Your Chance, a book by Dalpiaz that gives techniques for parenting to help good parents become even better parents. I found the same sincere tone from the interview and our phone conversations. After teaching interactive skills to parents in domestic violence situations, abused teens, or new parents who needed support for more than 11 years, she entered the trenches herself when she became a para-parent to her little nephew who had troubling experiences prior to her having custody. Her expectations of parenting would soon become much more realistic. She now understands that parenting is a 24 hour job and everybody is going to lose their grip at times. After describing a woman who was frustrated and being hurtful, she said, “This woman was not abusive-only frustrated. But the threshold between frustration and abusiveness can sometimes be a very fine line. It is essential that we understand where the threshold lies for us, and that we recognize the need to call a time-out before we get to the point of ‘losing it.”

Trusting yourself as a parent, starting each day fresh with a carrying over what works are themes in the book. She said that nobody knows an individual child better than the parent who spends most of the time with the child. Having a sense of humor and using creativity are also encouraged to help change one’s outlook.

Children internalize messages that the adults in their lives give them. The message may not always be the intended message as Dalpiaz points out. She has exercises on phrasing statements in positive ways whether it is teaching a child to clean or encouraging a child school.

Dalpiaz reminds us that children are basically innocent and want to please adults. With a background in early childhood education and psychology, she is very aware of the concrete stage of thinking children have and how important it is for adults who have the power to say and do things to help a child grow into a confident and compassionate person.

When you are busy and constantly say no to request, you are sending a message that the child is not worth your time. Fifteen minutes is the minimum time that she encourages parents to spend with a child a day. She encourages parents to spend more time if possible. When it is not possible, she encourages them to give a child a clear message prior to the activity regarding time constraints. She discourages using material rewards for children, which she said give you little return on your investment in the way of respect or cooperation from the child. Quality time is the reward that children need and the one that will reap the greatest rewards for the parent according to her. She asks if a parent wants them to equate their self-worth with material things or with the parent.

It is easy to point fingers and find fault. It is not always easy to find solutions. Dalpiaz is part of the solution and shows how a person can change if given the right CHANCE.
-population-we™ blog post by Barb Bohan
© 2012 population-we, LLC 
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