A fews weeks ago, Steve and I were invited to participate in a reception and hard hat tour of the new Home2 Suites in west Omaha. The Hilton property owners

Gigi's Wedding Cake cupcake was amazing. (Photo by Ann Teget for postcarjar.com)

Gigi’s Wedding Cake cupcake was amazing. (Photo by Ann Teget for postcarjar.com)

and operators welcomed us (and other area bloggers) to a fantastic wine and cheese reception at the Hilton Garden Inn where we were treated to great food, complimentary drinks, and sweet treats from Gigi’s Cupcakes. The cupcakes were delicious, but the real treat was a sneak peek at the Home2 Suites that is expected to open soon near 180th and Dodge in Omaha.

Led by Home2 Suites General Manager, DJ Miller, we toured a couple of the nice rooms at the Hilton Garden Inn and then walked across the street to the Home2 Suites, which was still under construction. The reception area and first floor were not finished, but we could easily envision the free standing front desk and the community area where complimentary breakfast will be served. We even got to check out the area that will house a chemical-free, saline pool and for the first time in a long time, we found a hot tub without kids in it! (Doesn’t Steve look excited?)

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This Home2 Suites, which will be the first in Nebraska and just the 35th in the country, is perfect for people who are staying in Omaha for more than one night.

Like the Hilton Garden Inn across the street, it is conveniently located just 15 minutes from downtown Omaha, the CenturyLink Center, and TD Ameritrade Park and it’s also near several hospitals and medical facilities. And if you’re like me and shopping completely exhausts you, Home2 Suites would be a great place to put your feet up after a day at the nearby Village Point Shopping Center. Because the Suites are designed for multiple-night stays, the rates will start at about $100 a night but discounts will be given the longer you stay.

From the looks of it, the Home2 Suites will be a place  you won’t necessarily want to leave.

(Photo by Ann Teget for postcard jar.com)

The 105-suite facility offers one or two-bedroom suites, each with a living area and full kitchen, equipped with a dishwasher, microwave and refrigerator (and I’m not talking about the dorm-sized ones you find in most hotels).

(Photo by Ann Teget for postcard jar.com)

Photo by Ann Teget for postcardjar.comThe suites are all spacious and include contemporary decor with a local flare exhibited through custom artwork that brings attention to local notables like Omaha Steaks, Boys Town, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, and the College World Series.

The couches sat well and the living space included a portable table, which we thought was a great idea for business travelers who needed a desk space, or families who wanted to eat a meal together.

The suites feature contemporary decor and movable furniture. (Photo by Ann Teget for postcard jar.com)

We appreciated that the suites will offer free WiFi not only in the common areas, but also in the rooms, even if you’re not a Hilton Honors Gold member.

No leaning over to get your hair wet in this shower. (Photo by Ann Teget for postcard jar.com)

No leaning over to get your hair wet in this shower. (Photo by Ann Teget for postcard jar.com)

It also has a nice fitness room right next to a laundry facility that they call Spin2Cycle where you can do a load of laundry for 50 cents.  Since Home2 Suites is being built with a focus on sustainability, the carpets are made from at least 60% recycled product and the rooms are equipped with Energy Star appliances and dual-flush toilets to use less water.

Steve wasn’t as interested in the dual-flush option as he was the fact that the shower heads were placed quite high and at 6’4″, he would not have to bend over to get his hair wet like he does in most hotels.

We stay at a lot of Hilton properties and appreciate some of the things that will make Home2 Suites unique, such as moveable furniture, an outdoor patio, fire pit and walking trail, and … wait for it … NUTELLA. That’s right. The complimentary breakfast is a little different here. It will include open-faced breakfast sandwiches with optional toppings, yogurt parfaits you make yourself, and several baked items with toppings like Nutella (it’s the little things that make me happy).

We liked a lot about the new Home2 Suites, which is owned and managed by Kinseth Hospitality Companies, including its owners’ commitment to the local community through the Your 2 Hands program. I suspect with our daughter, Meghan, transferring to the University of Nebraska – Omaha this fall, we’ll spend a night or two at the Home2 Suites. After our hard hat tour, I’m confident DJ and his staff will make us feel right at home.

What makes you feel at home when you travel? Leave us a comment and let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

Our hard hat tour with Home2 Suites General Manager DJ Miller. (Photo by Tim Trudell of The Walking Tourists)

Our hard hat tour with Home2 Suites General Manager DJ Miller. (Photo by Tim Trudell of The Walking Tourists)

  • And, we have a baby bird! A cowbird, that is. ⁣
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We were so excited when we found eggs in the nest two house finches built in a fern on our front porch in Pawhuska, Okla. When we posted a picture of the nest last week, several readers pointed out that one of the eggs was not like the others - - it was a cowbird egg.⁣
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Cowbirds, it turns out, have kind of a bad reputation. It seems that they don’t build nests of their own. Instead, they lay their eggs in the nests of other birds and let the other birds raise their chicks. The cowbird chicks tend to develop faster than the other nestlings, and sometimes out compete them for food and resources. Because of this, there are those who give advice to remove the cowbird egg from the nest. ⁣
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According to an article we read on the Audubon Society’s website, though, there are several reasons to leave the cowbird egg in place: ⁣
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First, cowbirds are native to North America and have been here for millions of years and we are never going to teach them how and where to lay their eggs a different way. ⁣
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Second, cowbirds are, like all other songbirds, protected in the US. In short, it’s illegal to remove their eggs.⁣
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Third, cowbirds have been known to check the nests where they leave their eggs and will, occasionally, destroy nests from which their eggs have been taken. As a result, all of the resident chicks would be killed, as well, instead of one or two being outcompeted for resources. ⁣
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Because of these reasons, we decided to let the natural process play out in our fern. We’ll see what happens. But what we do know is that the cowbird hatched first...and that chick is hungry.
  • 🏡 We've had such a wonderful time at our Pawhuska, Okla., home. It felt so good to actually pack a suitcase again, even if we just went to our house there and stayed put. We walked together every day, drove through the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, and chatted with friends from a distance on our front porch. We took time to watch the sunset and see a mama house finch care for her babies in our hanging fern. We also explored a state park and found a waterfall. ⁣
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Most importantly, we got to see our daughter, Meghan. She is an ICU nurse in Tulsa and because of her potential exposure to coronavirus, we'd not spent any time together in months. But Ann found a way to create a safe (and decorative) outdoor space for all of us to visit, share a few meals, and just be in each others' presence. We can’t tell you what a comfort it was to see her again. ⁣
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In this time of sickness and uncertainty, it was nice to have a clean, safe place to get away. We are so thankful to have found this gem of a town, so many supportive and caring friends here,  and a second place to call home.
  • As we've been home since March 12, Steve has taken up bread making as a hobby. His sour dough starter is looking promising, but he also found the easiest four-ingredient artisan bread recipe that is so impressive. ⁣
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We've shared the results a few times on social media and many of you have asked for the recipe, so he wrote a blog post about it. We've included a link in our bio with step-by-step instructions on how to make it. ⁣
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If you bake this artisan bread, we'd love to hear about it (and see a photo). Just be sure to tag us @postcardjar. ⁣
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We love this bread plain, with olive oil and seasoning, as toast with almond or peanut butter, and grilled for bruschetta. If you use the #Noom app like us, it is about 100 calories a serving (12 servings in loaf).
  • As we remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice this Memorial Day, we hope you will join us in honoring others in a time of reflection, gratitude and respect. ⁣
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Both Steve's grandfathers and Ann's grandfathers all served in the military and fought in WWII. We took this photo a few years ago at Wyuka Cemetery in Nebraska City, Nebraska, where Ann's grandfather, Donald Shrewsbury, was laid to rest.
  • Today is the day! This afternoon our friends and fellow travel writers @lindseyranzau and @coleranzau are taking over our Instagram stories and we can’t wait for you to meet them.⁣
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⁣They are travel experts on everything Minnesota and will also be sharing some of their favorite Midwest destinations in honor of #NationalRoadTripDay! ⁣
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⁣Lindsey and Cole have traveled the world and love finding hidden gems and writing about them on their blog, Look About Lindsey (link in bio). You’re going to love their personalities as much as their incredible photography so be sure to watch our stories and say hello.⁣
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⁣And, to see our picks for best Midwest road trips, follow @lindseyranzau where we’ll be taking over her IG stories. It’s going to be a blast and we hope you’ll come along.
  • We are so excited to announce that Minneapolis-based travel writers Lindsey and Cole Ranzau of the blog Look About Lindsey will be taking over the Postcard Jar Instagram stories Friday, May 22! In celebration of National Road Trip Day, we are trading places (and IG stories!) to show each others' followers some of our favorite Midwest road trips and destinations. ⁣
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We encourage you to check out our stories tomorrow to meet Cole and Lindsey (they are so much fun) and follow @lindseyranzau where we'll be sharing some of our favorite Midwest travel experiences on their Instagram stories. When the time is right and you feel you can travel safely, we hope you'll consider a road trip in the Midwest. ⁣
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You can check out the Look About Lindsey blog at the link in our bio. ⁣
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@natdaycal @pilotflyingj
  • The @pwmercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, reopened today. We have talked to folks here who said employees have been working hard to clean and sanitize everything. On our walk today, we noticed that hand sanitizer that was readily available, tables were spaced out, and Merc employees were wearing face masks in accordance with CDC recommentations. We hope visitors to our little town will also do their part to keep everyone safe and healthy.

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